United States Social Security Administration

Posted on January 30, 2010. Filed under: Blogroll, Communications, Economics, Employment, Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, government, government spending, history, Investments, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, Monetary Policy, People, Philosophy, Politics, Quotations, Rants, Raves, Security, Taxes, Video, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Saddling Posterity with Debt

“We believe–or we act as if we believed–that although an individual father cannot alienate the labor of his son, the aggregate body of fathers may alienate the labor of all their sons, of their posterity, in the aggregate, and oblige them to pay for all the enterprises, just or unjust, profitable or ruinous, into which our vices, our passions or our personal interests may lead us. But I trust that this proposition needs only to be looked at by an American to be seen in its true point of view, and that we shall all consider ourselves unauthorized to saddle posterity with our debts, and morally bound to pay them ourselves; and consequently within what may be deemed the period of a generation, or the life of the majority.”

~Thomas Jefferson to John Wayles Eppes, 1813



US Debt Clock



United States Social Security Administration


United States Social Security Administration


Social Security: A Program and Policy History



Social Security Administration – $11.6 bullion +$1.1 billion from the Recovery Act

The Social Security Administration is indispensable to seniors, survivors, workers and the disable, but unfortunately the SSA can only pay full benefits until 2041. The 2010 Federal budget does not plan for 2042, but instead provides a 10% increase to help process claims more quickly. The budget also intends to help improve framework to extend the viability of the program as best possible.

Highlights of the 2010 Social Security Administration Budget


Social Security Administration Budget


Program Integrity and Operation

  • Increase staffing at the SSA to help process claims and appeals more quickly – exact amount not disclosed
  • Increase Social Security card processing and Social Security Number distribution – exact amount not disclosed
  • Increase integrity of SSA to ensure efficient government spending – $759 million


United States Social Security Administration

The United States Social Security Administration (SSA)[2] is an independent agency of the United States federal government that administers Social Security, a social insurance program consisting of retirement, disability, and survivors’ benefits. To qualify for these benefits, most American workers pay Social Security taxes on their earnings; future benefits are based on the employees’ contributions.

The Social Security Administration was established by a law currently codified at 42 U.S.C. § 901. Its current commissioner is Michael J. Astrue, who was sworn in on February 12, 2007 and whose six-year term expires on January 19, 2013.

SSA is headquartered in Woodlawn, Maryland, just to the west of Baltimore, at what is known as Central Office. The agency includes 10 regional offices, 8 processing centers, approximately 1300 field offices, and 37 Teleservice Centers. As of 2007[update], about 62,000 people were employed by the SSA.[3] Social security is currently the largest social welfare program in the U.S., constituting 37% of government expenditure and 7% of GDP.[4]



The Social Security Act created a Social Security Board (SSB),[5] to oversee the administration of the new program. It was created as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal with the signing of Social Security Act of 1935, August 14, 1935.[6] The Board consisted of three presidentially appointed executives, and started with no budget, no staff, and no furniture. It obtained a temporary budget from the Federal Emergency Relief Administration headed by Harry Hopkins.[5]

The first Social Security office opened in Austin, Texas, on October 14, 1936. Social Security taxes were collected first in January 1937, along with the first one-time, lump-sum payments.[6] The first person to receive a Social Security benefit was Ernest Ackerman, who was paid 17 cents in January 1937. This was a one-time, lump-sum pay-out, which was the only form of benefits paid during the start-up period January 1937 through December 1939. The first person to receive monthly retirement benefits was Ida May Fuller of Brattleboro, Vermont. Her first check, dated January 31, 1940 was in the amount of US$22.54.[7]

In 1939, the Social Security Board merged into a cabinet-level Federal Security Agency, which included the SSB, the U.S. Public Health Service, the Civilian Conservation Corps, and other agencies.[8] In January 1940, the first regular ongoing monthly benefits were begun.[6]

In 1946, the SSB was renamed the Social Security Administration under President Harry S. Truman’s Reorganization Plan.

In 1972, Cost of Living Adjustments (COLAs) were introduced into SSA programs to deal with the effects of inflation on fixed incomes.

In 1953, the Federal Security Agency was abolished and the SSA was placed under the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. HEW became the Department of Health and Human Services in 1980. In 1994, President Bill Clinton signed into law 42 U.S.C. § 901 returning the SSA to the status of an independent agency in the executive branch of government.


The SSA’s coverage under the Social Security program originally covered nearly all non-government workers in the continental U.S. and the territories of Alaska, Hawaii, Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands below the age of 65. All workers in interstate commerce and industry were required to enter the program, except railroad, state and local government workers. In 1939, the age restriction for entering Social Security was eliminated. When it was introduced, all of these people were brought into Medicare as well.

Railroad workers were covered by the Railroad Retirement Board before Social Security was founded; they still are, though a portion of each railroad pension is designated as “equivalent” to Social Security. Railroad workers also participate in Medicare.

Most state and local government workers were eventually brought into the Social Security system under “Section 218 Agreements“. A Section 218 Agreement is a voluntary agreement between a state and SSA. The original 218 interstate instrumentalities were signed in the 1950s. All states have a Section 218 agreement with the Social Security Administration. For more information see Chapter 10 of the Social Security Handbbook.[9] The Social Security handbook chapter 10, section 1002 defines what is an “interstate instrumentality.[10] The provisions of Section 218 of the Social Security Act and the instrumentalities agreement and subsequent modifications determine social security and medicare or Medicare-only coverage for state and local government employees enrolled in state and local government retirement systems. To determine if your state has signed a 218 agreement contact your State Social Security Administrator. A list of State Social Security administrators that administer section 218 agreement is maintained on-line at[11] All State and local government hired since 1986, or who are covered by section 218 agreements, participate in Medicare even if not covered by Social security.[12] How State And Local Government Employees are covered By Social Security And Medicare see The Federal-State reference guide appendix[13] Other local and state employees were brought into coverage under a 1991 Social Security law that required these employees to join Social Security if their employer did not provide them with a pension plan. It is believed that some state and local governments continue to maintain their own pension plans and have not executed Section 218 agreements; if so, their workers do not participate in Social Security. (If those workers also have service in Social Security, however, their Social Security benefits are reduced by a rule known as the Windfall Elimination Provision; there is also a similar Government Pension Offset for their spouses.)

Old Age, Survivors and Disability

The SSA administers the old age, survivors, and disabled social insurance programs, which provide monthly benefits to retired or disabled workers, their spouses and children, and to the survivors of insured workers. In 2004, more than 47 million Americans received approximately US$492 billion in Social Security benefits. The programs are financed by mandatory contributions which employers, employees, and self-insured persons pay. These revenues are placed into a special trust fund.

The SSA administers its disability program partly through its Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR), which has regional offices and hearing offices across the United States. ODAR publishes a manual, called HALLEX, which contains instructions for its employees regarding how to implement its guiding principles and procedures.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

SSA administers the SSI program, which is needs-based, for elderly, blind, or disabled persons. This program was originally called by its separate names, Old Age Assistance (originally Title I of the Social Security Act of 1935), and Disability Assistance (added in 1946). In 1973, these assistance programs were renamed and reassigned to SSA. SSI recipients are paid out of the general revenue of the U.S. In addition, some states pay additional SSI funds. Approximately 7 million persons are covered by SSI.


The administration of the Medicare program is a responsibility of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, but SSA district offices and program service centers are used for determining eligibility, processing premium payments, and for some public contact.


To ensure consistent and efficient treatment of Social Security beneficiaries across its vast bureaucracy, SSA has compiled a giant book known as the Programs Operations Manual System (POMS) which governs practically all aspects of SSA’s internal operations. POMS describes, in excruciating detail, a huge variety of situations regularly encountered by SSA personnel, and the exact policies and procedures that apply to each situation.


A few of the hundreds of keypunch operators SSA employed throughout the late 1930s and into the 1950s.

While the establishment of Social Security predated the invention of the modern digital computer, punch card data processing was a mature technology, and the Social Security system made extensive use of automated unit record equipment from the program’s inception. This allowed the Social Security Administration to achieve a high level of efficiency. SSA expenses have always been a small fraction of benefits paid.

Baby name popularity report

Each year, just before Mother’s Day, the Social Security Administration releases a list of the names most commonly given to newborn babies in the United States in the previous year, based on applications for Social Security cards. The report includes the 1,000 most common names for each gender. The Popular Baby Names page on the SSA website provides the complete list and allows searches for past years and particular names.[14]


Background Articles and Videos


Related Posts On Pronk Palisades

United States Department of Agriculture

United States Department of Commerce

United States Department of Defense

United States Department of Education

United States Department of Energy

United States Department of Health and Human Resources

United States Department of Homeland Security

United States Department of Housing and Urban Development

United States Department of Interior

United States Department of Justice

United States Department of Labor

United States Department of State

United States Department of Transportation

United States Department of The Treasury

United States Department of Veteran Affairs

United States Office of Management and Budget

United States Office of Personnel Management

United States Social Security Administration

Make a Comment

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Liked it here?
Why not try sites on the blogroll...

%d bloggers like this: