Happy Birthday Social Security
This month marks Social Security’s 80th birthday (as well as the 50th anniversary of the Medicare and Medicaid programs). Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Social Security retirement program into law in 1935. Benefits for dependent survivors were added in 1939. In 1956, disability insurance benefits were added. The Medicare and Medicaid programs were created in 1965.
Today, nearly 65 million American men, women and children receive benefits from the various Social Security programs, including retirement, disability, children’s benefits and SSI. According to the most current data from the SSA, the average retired worker receives about $1,335 per month and the average disabled worker about $1,165 per month. Not much to live on, but life-saving for many beneficiaries.
Social Security benefits play a vital role in reducing poverty. Without Social Security, more than 22 million more Americans would be poor according to the latest Census data. Most of those are elderly but nearly 1/3 are under age 65.
Last month the Social Security Board of Trustees released its annual report on the long-term financial status of the Social Security Trust Funds. The combined assets of the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance and Disability Insurance Trust Funds are projected to become depleted in 2034, with 79 percent of benefits payable at that time. Congress needs to act, and act now, to keep these vital programs intact. Let your Congressional representatives, and candidates for public office, know how important this issue is the country, its elderly and disabled. We want Social Security to continue to celebrate its anniversaries for years to come.