Social Security is the well-known social welfare program covering virtually all workers in the United States. The program was initially signed into law by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1935 and was intended to provide income to individuals and families in times of need, including death, disability and retirement. With more than $500B in payouts, it is the largest government program in the world. As of 2011, at least 56 million people were receiving Social Security benefits.
Social Security Benefits
The main Social Security benefits are represented by the acronym OASDI used to describe the program and include old age, survivorship, and disability insurance. The most well-known benefit is the retirement benefit. Depending on the year of their birth, workers become eligible to receive full retirement benefits upon reaching age 65 to 67. At that point, workers can elect to receive their benefit in the form of a monthly check whose amount depends on their contributions to the program.
Social Security also provides disability benefits. The program provides monthly financial support to individuals who are either temporarily or permanently disabled due to illness, childbirth, or injury. Another catastrophic insurance benefit provided is the death benefit for surviving widows or surviving minor children of deceased workers. At that point surviving family members would report the death to the Social Security Administration, who records it in the Social Security Death Index. Surviving widows and minor children will then receive monthly income to partially replace the income lost due to the deceased provider.
The Social Security Card
By law every citizen or legal immigrant must have his or her own Social Security card to be eligible to work in the U.S. The card is an important legal document that can be used for many important transactions, such as applying for a job or a loan, acquiring a driver’s license, getting married, or enrolling at school. Should the card be ever lost, the individual should immediately proceed to the nearest social security office for Social Security card replacement.
Beyond just a retirement program, Social Security provides critical assistance to individuals and families in emergency situations. These situations can include death or disability of a worker, who needs to provide for their spouse, minor children or, in some cases, other close family members.