Social Security Legislation History

When we think of Social Security, most of us may think of the financial security provided to us once we reach a certain age, sort of like a nest egg for being a productive member of society meaning, you paid into your social security taxes. We may also think of social security as an economic means to help people of lower income brackets through SSI benefits, disabled individuals as well as families of disabled or deceased workers.

So, what exactly is Social Security and how was it started? The United States Government established a program in 1935 called the Social Security Act that provided and continues to provide economic security for the millions of Americans who meet these certain criteria. This program is what we know as the Social Security Administration, which is an independent agency of the United States Federal Government, and in 1956 disability benefits were also added. Every employer and employee must pay social security taxes, but unlike money that you may put into your personal bank account or your 401(k), this money is not yours. Instead, this money is paid right back out to eligible individuals currently receiving social security checks.
Eligibility for this program is in part based on the year you were born as well as how many years of service you provided, the minimum being 10 years. Persons born in 1951 or earlier are now eligible for full Social Security benefits while persons born 1960 or later will be eligible for full retirement benefits at the age of 67. To determine eligibility, the Social Security Administration has established a system of credits which states that a person will earn up to four credits per year worked. The number of credits needed to qualify for benefits is 40, hence the 10-year employment requirement.
Once all criteria’s are met, applying is as simple as completing an application online, by phone or you can visit your local Social Security Office. More information can be found on the Social Security Administration’s main website at Just click the link to take you directly there.
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