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


  1. ADNAN M.

    request for humanitarian relief


    i here by under request to concerning authorities to admit as reasonable issues for
    my request to get medication after being taken out from DECIDUA HOSPITAL IN ETHIOPIA ON 2010,the first
    time being employed as regional state government jijiga as state minister of environment in the position of monitoring and evaluation
    after my graduation from GODEY AGRICULTURAL COLLEGE ON 2009,the fact of issue is that i have been one of the survivals the car
    smashed at AFDEM DISTRICT area since our observation by governmental car owned that specific administration,
    unfortunately, after broken 6 ribs of mine ,the ambulance took me to hospital without compensation and my salary being cut out
    due to that i am taken to over seas hospital that my relative in somaliland could treat me well.from the fact of this view, i beg from your organization o give me a hand to continue my education and my fortune since ethiopian government neglects my right to
    civil reform programme to corruption and anti non daror absame clannish tribe origins from somaliland because the current state
    officials not ready to unite the students and professionals in the stake holders of state regional of somali state ogadenia or jijiga.
    my age is 30 years old with diploma holder of natural resource where my other brothers also like me left from ethiopia none
    yours faithfully:
    Mr Adnan Mohamed Abdullahi

    • bettyg

      SPAM here even!

      • Gladys

        For sure they need to stop trying to get the US to pay for all their things because we have an outrageous amount of needy citizens her and all of the ones that are working are the ones that pay for the money that the government sends overseas and say they are being generous; for sure generous with the citizens money.

  2. Bob p.

    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 made.

  3. bettyg

    I NEVER RECEIVED A REPLY FROM YOUR STAFF ON THIS POST; please give me an answer to my question on the bottom; thank you 😉

    bettyg on July 29, 2015 at 2:47 am said:

    on my 1st ssdi claim, admin law judge denied me; lawyer asked for a copy of the hearing tape promptly so he could prepare a brief to go to appeals council.

    ssdi/dds/alj staff NEVER sent him or me a copy of this tape. so lawyer NEVER sent a brief to AC.

    then lawyer quit me 4 yrs. into this after my 2nd ssdi claim was filed.

    i waited 2.5 yrs. for AC to review my COMPLETE file.

    lawyer sent a copy to all parties saying he was no longer my lawyer and would NOT be receiving any compensation for anything.

    so AC didn’t have to REVIEW MY FILE since lawyer DIDN’T FILE A BRIEF, so they just looked over aljudge’s denial and agreed. WHY?

    i also asked alj’s office for a copy of my 1st taped hearing; no one acted nor did AC do anything to help me or replied.

    i had 2nd aljudge hearing by teleconference representing myself. he said it would take MONTHS before i heard anything. SURPRISE…HE APPROVED ME in 1 wk. after 5 yrs. going thru all this hell.

    however, since i had to file 2nd ssdi claim, it didn’t go back to ORIGINAL dates i was disabled; started from time of 2nd ssdi claim!

    anyway, i’m complaining because my 1st case was in AC 2.5 yrs. on a shelf; then they DIDN’T look at my 2″ medical files full of documentation and SUPPORTIVE RFC, residual function capacity forms from several drs. grrr!

    i also feel it would be helpful to explain WHY DUPLICATE FORMS are sent over & over; what is the reasoning for this. please have an ARTICLE addressing this!
    bettyg, iowa

  4. Richard K.

    I am an 78 year old retiree who has paid into both Social Security and Medicare all my life (Since they were introduced). They were sold to us as government backed insurance policies and we and our employers had no option to opt out. When President Johnson raided these funds and put them into the “General Fund” it left them fair game for the politicos over the years to use the money and put worthless IOUs in the funds. We are now left with a ponze scheme that is near broke. We need the “lock-box” amendment to save what we have and be able to fulfill the promise to future generations. These are NOT Entitlements. We didn’t ask for hand outs. We worked hard and long to pay for this portion of our retirement nest egg. This is insurance bought and paid for by the citizens of the United States. Not one cent of it should be spent as well fair or foreign aid ! Please don’t pat your selves on the back as if every thing is all right. We are paying for this and much of our government with barrowed funds. God help our children and grand children.

    • Gladys

      SO SO True and the young people shouldn’t have to pay ours because we have already paid the years we worked and paid both also. Know how you and all the other Seniors feel.

  5. John W.

    If we could just get the government to pay back the loans they owe we would be in good shape in Social Security. Oh and by the way if anyone talks about a lock box in the future I will gag!

  6. Irene S.

    From one octogenarian to another: HAPPY BIRTHDAY! And may you live happily for another 80 years.

    • R.F.

      Thank you very much — we look forward to many more years of serving you in the future! You can participate in our 80th anniversary celebration by sharing your story about how Social Security has made a difference in your life.

    • Gladys

      Hope so also have to think positive but hard to do with the White House making the decisions.

    • Starr

      Life has learnt me, doe not beleive in anything you does not hold in your hand! the fact is,fantasts is still searching after the gold of Rommel!its an industryes where interested people invest their monne in pure gready!Fact is also that you can not find something there already is found! wee found the gold of &#22e0;Romm8l” the year of 1963 and i am awaithing to publice a novel abouth it.

  7. Mary H.

    I just want to say thank you for all the hard work y’all do. I know.people get tired of waiting on decisions from Social Security when they file a claim, but there are so many people that apply and so few workers, it just takes time. Once again, Thank you.

    • R.F.

      Thank you! Our employees are committed to providing the public with the best service possible. We will continue our efforts to meet your expectations in the years to come.

  8. Tami T.

    I am disabled for having seizures and I was denied social security I have other health problems as well and I was still denied and I applied in 2010 and now you are telling me I am only eligible for ssi and I still waiting for the approval for that!

    • Gladys

      That probably won’t be all you will not be eligible for. Have a grand daughter that has had to receive therapy her whole life and now not allowed to get but one set of therapy a year and they are trying to take that from her.

    • R.F.

      Tami, the length of time it takes to receive a decision on your claim can vary depending on several factors including: the nature of your disability, how quickly we obtain medical evidence from your doctor or other medical sources, and if your claim is randomly selected for a quality assurance review of the decision. For updated information on your claim, you can call our toll free number, 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) Monday through Friday between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. to speak with one of our representatives for further assistance. Or, you can visit your local office.

  9. Jackie R.

    Congradulations for 80 years and thank you! Your job is not easy but so very important for many. I would also like to give you some constructive criticism starting with a suggestion. It would be great if the person answering the calls could see and identify the caller. Cisco phone has cameras and many companies carry Cisco Phone systems. Telecomference could be employed. There is a barrier to access when Senior needs to get into Asisted Living and the SS can’t identify her. Please help us with this problem. Thanks and keep up the good work.

    • R.F.

      Thank you for your feedback and suggestions, Jackie. We are glad to share with you that we are now using video technology in a limited number of locations around the country to deliver timely and efficient service to the public. Our video service delivery helps us serve people in remote areas and reduces time and travel costs. We also use video conferencing to conduct some Social Security hearings. We hope to continue to expand these services in the future.

  10. Constance S.

    My only concern is that as a CA teacher who has worked in both public and private schools, I am not allowed to collect the full amount of Social Security that I have earned.

    • Barbara N.

      As a retired Federal Government employee, I am also unable to collect my full amount of Social Security. Known as Windfall Elimination it punishes us for having a decent retirement by limiting SS benefits.

      • hoosier

        Really?? It looks to me like you must have NOT paid SSI taxes for your entire compensation so … not exactly punishment if you had the advantage of not having deductions from your pay those years. ” The Windfall Elimination Provision may
        affect how we calculate your retirement or
        disability benefit. If you work for an employer
        who does not withhold Social Security taxes
        from your salary, such as a government agency
        or an employer in another country, any pension
        you get from that work may reduce your Social
        Security benefits” Sorry, we’d all like more of everything but at least this is one provision where levelilng the field was intent. .

        • Dorothy

          Part of your response make it appear that you work for the SS administration. I hope you don’t. You’re response was a little snarky for someone who is in public service.

        • Jim

          What’s “leveling” about taking away benefits which I legitimately earned outside government just because I worked for government long enough to earn a pension?

      • Gladys

        Bad thing is we are not politicians They get theirs and ours, even after they retire.

        • Greg

          I recall some of my elders talking about social security years ago, and how unfair it is. They would say things like, “the only way the federal government should be able to put a number on you, is if you are a federal prisoner. My grandfather retired from the railroad that was exempt from Socialist Security, he got back more than what he paid into the railroads retirement plan. I will never live long enough to get back what I have put in.

    • Jacqueliine

      You are going to have to create your own 401k and investments.

    • James C.

      Amen. Let’s get with it and repeal the WEP!

Comments are closed.