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  1. Social Security and Retirement
  2. Retirement Age and Social Security
  3. Working at Home
  4. Longer Years of Retirement
  5. Employment trends
  6. Foreign workers in the United States
  7. Mexican Workers in the United States
  8. Workplace Safety Standards
  9. Work-related Injuries and Deaths
  10. Growth of Large Corporate Farming
  11. Union Membership Across the United States
  12. Laws Regarding Working Women
  13. Labor Contracts in the United States
  14. Right-to-Work Laws
  15. Public worker unions in the United States
  16. Unemployment insurance
  17. Equal Opportunity Employment Laws
  18. Workers’ Compensation
  19. Minimum Age for Agricultural Employment
  20. Minors in the Workplace
  21. Minimum Wage
  22. Employment of Persons with Disabilities
  23. Major Equal Employment Legislation in the U.S.
  24. Employment in the Service Sector
  25. Unemployment
  26. State’s Unique Worker’s Compensation Laws
  27. Life on Unemployment
  28. Minimum Wage and Poverty
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Roosevelt signs papers while seated at a table.
President Roosevelt signs the Social Security Act in 1935.
Photo Courtesy of Social Security Online.
Social Security and Retirement
Congress passed the Social Security Act of 1935 to provide retired workers with a steady income in the form of old-age insurance. In 1939, amendments to the Social Security Act extended pay benefits to the spouse and minor children of retired workers, thereby expanding Social Security from a retirement program to a “family-based economic security program.” The first payment of Social Security benefits began in 1940. During the 1950s, Social Security covered about half of all Americans. Over the years, additional amendments have extended coverage so that everyone who works in America, including foreigners, is covered to some degree. A Social Security number registers workers in the Social Security system and they and their employers pay a small tax each month and they accumulate credits towards old-age insurance benefits. The number of years workers are in the system determines the amount of their monthly retirement payment. However this amount is not set for the rest of the retiree’s life. Cost of Living Adjustments, meant to compensate for inflation, increase monthly payments over the course of a worker’s retirement. Social Security is funded by the taxes withheld from workers’ paychecks during their entire working life in the United States. Click on CHARTS for more information.
Special Terms: Congress

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