Celebrating the Past and Building the Future

August 10, 2015 • By

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Last Updated: August 19, 2021

The 80th Anniversary seal of Social Security. The seal  has "Celebrating 80 years" written on it.Social Security turns 80 this week. That’s right; we’re the new octogenarian in town!

We began celebrating last month. On July 23, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Carolyn W. Colvin, hosted a 90-minute commemorative event on Capitol Hill, to highlight our agency’s history and to illuminate our way forward.

U.S. Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland sponsored the event.

Four former Social Security commissioners joined Acting Commissioner Colvin at the event including JoAnne Barnhart, Kenneth Apfel, John Callahan, and Gwendolyn King.

In the words of Acting Commissioner Colvin, “Our 80th anniversary gives us the opportunity to reflect on the incredible part our agency plays in the lives of millions of people – every day.”

She added that in fiscal year 2015, our agency will pay about $887 billion in Social Security benefits to almost 60 million people – or about a fifth of the American population.

The panelists reflected on the vital role Social Security has played in the financial security of American workers and their families over the last 80 years. The panel’s discussion emphasized the agency’s strong stewardship of the disability program, our award winning online services, and our efforts to educate the public about Social Security. A key message emerged – that Social Security is a part of the fabric of America and serves as basic protection to support working men and women, children, people with disabilities, and the elderly.

In a panel session moderated by Politico editor Timothy Noah, the former Commissioners discussed the agency’s future and about what makes the agency and program successful. The panel addressed the questions: How do we keep the promise of Social Security to future generations? And, what role should Social Security play in every family’s financial plan?

Social Security, after 80 years, is proud, passionate, and driven toward excellence in serving the American people. We invite you to watch a video of the event.

We hope you will help us celebrate the important milestone of our 80th anniversary on Friday, August 14th by joining our 80th Anniversary Thunderclap using your Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr accounts!

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About the Author

Phil Gambino, Assistant Deputy Commissioner, Communications

Assistant Deputy Commissioner for Communications


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  3. Jesus d.

    I started receiving SSA pension back in 2011. I applied for ssi but denied. What is the criteria to be approved for ssi.

    • Ray F.

      The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program pays benefits to disabled adults and children who have limited income and resources. SSI benefits also are payable to people 65 and older without disabilities who meet the financial limits. There are many times when people can receive both SSI and Social Security benefits, depending on whether they meet the eligibility requirements. We count the gross monthly benefit amount of your Social Security retirement benefit as Income for the purpose of SSI eligibility. We hope this answers your question.

    • Cassie

      You’re the grseatet! JMHO

  4. Andrew

    This is gigantic work! Keep up good work!

  5. eliedith

    got a question. my husband will be 66 in april.2016 does he get full SS on his birthday or does he have to wait until 66 and a half????

    • Ray F.

      Your husband will get his full retirement benefit beginning with the month he attains his full retirement age. If his full retirement age is 66 and if he wants his benefits to begin in April 2016, he would receive his first check in May 2016. He can apply three months in advance, and he can complete the online application for Social Security Retirement benefits in as little as 15 minutes.

      • eliedith

        thank you. when does my husband need to apply for medicare? he turned 65 in april 2015

        • eliedith

          my husband is covered under a group employment health insurance plan and he turned 65 in april 2015 so when should he apply for medicare?

    • Ray F.

      We advise people to file for Medicare benefits at age 65, even if they plan to continue working. If your husband is still working and is covered under a group health plan based on that employment, he may want to file for Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) only. However, he should speak to his personnel office, health benefits advisor, or health plan to see what’s best for him. Your husband can also apply for Medicare online.

  6. Karen S.

    Since this is a celebration, I would like to take this opportunity to say “thank you” for all that you all do. I wish Social Security a very long life!

  7. Manuel S.

    We need to put social security funds $$$ back into a Lock Proof System and prevent withdrawals of $$$$$ for any reason; other than for Social Security Benefits $$$$$$ pay out administration.

  8. Homer E.

    I wirk for the USPS and I need to know if we can collect a supplement payments from social security at age 59 1/2 or 60 years of age!!!

    • Ray F.

      Homer, the earliest age you can get retirement benefits from Social Security is 62. In the meantime, you can create a my Social Security account to review estimates of your retirement, disability, and survivors benefits; your earnings record; and the estimated Social Security and Medicare taxes you’ve paid.

  9. ADNAN M.

    Blame the politicians for the changes made to the SSA and all the bills added making changes to the original document. Like changing the monies being placed in the General Fund. How any one that comes to the USA doesn’t have to work but can receive benefits under their relatives or those on Public Assistance receive benefits with out working a day, and the beat goes on. I’m sure there are many loop holes passed by Congress that haven’t been stated, like the 1984 Act for Federal employees on the Offset and the State employees who only get a small amount based on the deal Calpers mad

    • Susannah

      Thninkig like that shows an expert at work

  10. Ida N.

    I too am a retired Government Employee, who lost 12% of my retirement due to age of retirement and still have lost 90% of my Social Security Benefits. Why, when employees that did not retire with Civil Service Retirement, can/do receive all of there SS Benefits.

    After being retired twenty-two (22) years, I now draw about 25% of what my income was in 1992. Why?

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