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A Brief Analysis Of Social Security In The United States

820 words - 4 pages

In the United States, before 1935, very few workers in the United States worked in jobs covered by pensions. Of those with coverage, many never received any benefits because their benefits were not guaranteed.The original Social Security Act was passed in 1935. It had two components: a Social Security retirement benefit that applied only to workers and a welfare program for the needy elderly called Old Age Assistance. The welfare program was initially more popular because the benefits were bigger. No Social Security benefits were to be paid until 1942, allowing for a period of partial forward funding. The retirement benefit was initially funded by a 2 percent tax on the first $3000 of ...view middle of the document...

From 1950 to 1972 there were many incremental increases in Social Security taxes and benefits and more groups of workers were brought under Social Security coverage and taxation. By 1960, 78 percent of workers were insured. In 1956 disability insurance was added and women were allowed to retire at 62 with a benefit equal to 80 percent of what they would have received at 65. In 1961 men were offered a similar early-retirement benefit.Nearly universal coverage was reached by 1965 and Social Security had demonstrated success in achieving its primary purpose of reducing the percentage of elderly living in poverty. Major legislation in 1965 built on this success by passing Medicare and Medicaid, increasing the tax base for Social Security and raising benefits by 7 percent, by making it easier for retirement beneficiaries to work without losing benefits, by liberalizing the definition of disability, by expanding the scope of child disability insurance, and by lowering the age at which widows could receive benefits. In 1969 benefits were raised by 15 percent and in 1972 by 20 percent. In 1972 benefits were indexed to increase at the same rate as inflation.After 1972, in response to an economic downturn, attention switched to making sure that Social Security would...

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