Social Security


What is Social Security?

Social Security includes two Federal programs that provide benefits based on disability and are the largest of several programs that provide assistance to people with disabilities: the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. Eleven million people with disabilities and their families, about one third of recipients, rely on social security for their survival. Workers who pay Social Security taxes qualify for disability and retirement benefits, and, if they die, their spouses and children receive survivors' benefits. People with disabilities may receive Social Security's retirement, survivors, and disability insurance benefits based on their work history, age, or eligibility category.


History of Legislation

Social Security Act of 1935

  • A measure to implement social insurance during the Great Depression
  • Enacted August 14, 1935

Social Security Act Amendments of 1954 (PL 761)

  • Established a disability "freeze" for disabled workers and defined disability
  • Enacted September 1, 1954

Social Security Amendments of 1956 (PL 880)

  • Established monthly cash benefits for eligible disabled workers
  • Enacted August 1, 1956

Social Security Amendments of 1958 (PL 85-840)

  • Provided benefits for dependents, spouses, and children, of disabled workers and provided for 12 months of retroactive payments
  • Enacted August 28, 1958

Social Security Amendments of 1960

  • Established benefits for disabled workers under age 50 & introduce a trial work period to allow beneficiaries to try working without losing benefits right away
  • Enacted September 13, 1960

Social Security Amendments of 1972

  • Created the Supplemental Security Income program
  • Enacted October 30, 1972

Social Security Disability Benefits Reform Act of 1984

  • To ensure more accurate, consistent, and uniform disability determination under SSDI program
  • Enacted October 9, 1984


Other Topics for the 116th Congress

ABLE Age Adjustment Act