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Social Security is Turning 80 and Has Never Been Better!

June 29, 2015 • By

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Last Updated: November 6, 2023

A cake that has the 80th Social Security seal frosted on itThe Social Security program is turning 80 years old this year, but age has only made us stronger, wiser, and more agile! We are pleased that, through the years, we continue to provide our best customer service to you, the American public, by innovating with the latest technology.

In August of 1935, our mission started by offering retirement programs to assist the most vulnerable members of the public. Everything was done by hand — paper forms were filed and calculated for every person in the United States. Other agencies donated employees to help with our new mission. Today, we have about 60,000 dedicated and compassionate employees, and our services are digital, mobile, and secure through our many online applications. In fact, July 19-25 is National my Social Security week. We will host numerous events and activities across the country to raise awareness about the benefits of opening a personal my Social Security account.

With a personal my Social Security account, you can verify your earnings history, see your future benefit estimates, and much more from the comfort of your home or office. The convenience and safety of doing business online is another way we’re meeting the changing needs and lifestyles of our customers. As we said, turning 80 has only made us quicker on our feet.

As we work to expand online services for those who prefer that flexibility, we continue our commitment to providing you with top-notch, face-to-face assistance in field offices across the nation or through our nationwide toll-free telephone service. Our frontline employees offer world-class service to millions each day.

We’ve come a long way and are proud of our strong history of service to you. We look forward to making the next 80 years just as great with continued professionalism and innovation!

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About the Author

Doug Walker, Deputy Commissioner, Communications

Deputy Commissioner, Office of Communications


  1. Doug C.

    We have some good comments here.
    My question is, It was stated that the work force is not keeping up with the amount of people drawing on the system. It can’t be because the amount of people of working age is less than it was.
    Why are able bodied people getting away with collecting disability benefits? How can average people like you and me, See These able bodied people working for cash and collecting disability checks and the all knowing Govt can’t see it? The fraud is astronomical. There are whole families living on disability and most have cash jobs.
    This may not fix the program but it would sure go along way in helping the problem.

    • Michael A.

      Yes, there is fraud and abuse of disability payments. However, general statements like yours are not helpful – If you know or suspect someone is abusing SSDI, then REPORT the person to SS. SS can’t be everywhere, all of the time. They welcome your communication.

    • Lorenzo D.

      Doug, we take fraud very seriously at Social Security, so if you suspect someone of fraud, please report it to us.

  2. Mary M.

    When I started getting monthly social security checks at age 62, I felt like I had won the lottery! I’ve been receiving checks for eleven years and they really help supplement my other earnings. I think people who complain are the ones who didn’t pay much into it to begin with. People need to count their blessings.

    • Paula m.

      Boy, I so agree with you.

  3. Daniel

    Yes in what way has it “never been better”, since the democrats voted to raid this funds money many years ago, they continually do so, so that there is money for their other pet projects. How about replacing the billions and trillions raided from this fund.

    Also how about this small idea, actually investigate the people applying for the disability, how many are just working the system for a check.

    Same with non-citizens (and don’t say that they cannot get it), ONLY people who are citizens of this country should be eligible for it, even if they work here 15 years and pay into it. Don’t want to become a citizen then don’t get the citizen benefits.

    • Taxmanreeves

      Daniel is correct. Pres Johnson included the SS trust fund money into the general fund. Now it’s money comes & money goes out. Based on estimates; not enough will come in to support the payments. Awful planning!

  4. Kay R.

    I have been reading these comments and I have been educated. I didn’t know that Social Security wasn’t meant to be a person only retirement. I was disabled for 10 years. I still have my disabling conditions but with help from the programs that help the disabled get back to work, I have been able to find work. I am blessed to have a job and have found an employer who is willing to work with me. I’m now able to give back. When I was at my sickest point Social Security helped my family stay affloat.
    I see that there are alot of angry people who are misinformed. I would like to hear more about what the plan was for social security. It might help some of those who are angry to know what it was meant for. Maybe not.

    • Julia

      Kudos for you Kay 🙂 God Bless 🙂

      • Agatha

        Supiirsrng to think of something like that

    • Lorenzo D.

      Thank you for sharing your comments, Kay. We’re glad Social Security benefits helped you and your family stayed afloat, and congratulations on getting back to work! We look forward to many more years of serving you and the American public in the years to come.

  5. Dawn A.

    I get ssid have for 10+ years Now enters Husband apply for ssid and was approved they take half of my grant and put it in his name and tell me 2 can live as cheapley.and the worker told us he would not get money of his own unless we divorced or I DIE I want to see wher this is put down this is a formal request for clairafaction

    • HunterSThompson

    • Lorenzo D.

      Dawn, unfortunately your concerns are a bit more complex than we can handle on this blog. For your security, we do not have access to information about your account in this venue. We recommend you get clarification by visiting your local field office. Or, you can call our toll free number, 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) and ask to speak with one of our representatives, who are available Monday through Friday between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.

  6. Mike S.

    If we all are fortunate enough to be able to work long enough to be able to save funds for our retirement, life would be good when we are in our twilight years. When life throws us a curve and we are unable to work those last 25 or so years we find ourselves forced to live on ss alone. I was disabled at 44 years of age. The funds that my wife and I had saved in my 401k had to be used to live on for the 4 years it took to get my disability. Sure I received back pay but between the attorney fees and the penalty for cashing out my 401k too soon eliminated all extra funds. Don’t get me wrong I do appreciate the money that I get from ss but when I read people’s comments about ss not being ones only source of income I have to voice my story about why some of us have to live on ss alone.

  7. James B.

    I am disabled and unable to work. I get SSDI and I’m very grateful for it. I’m not grateful for my condition. I’d much rather be working and paying into the system than taking from it. Nevertheless, I’m grateful it’s here or I’d be on the street.

    But, I do have another concern. When I first became disabled I was forced to spend down any savings I had to be eligible for Medicare. Once all my savings were gone, I could go on the program. Fast forward to today. I am about to retire. I turn 65 this year, but I have nothing to retire with except the promise of SSDI. That also may be trimmed by the congress, in their wisdom, by 20% next year. Now, I don’t want to complain, but this seems unfair.

    • HunterSThompson

      Was it possibly Medicaid that made you spend down ? Medicare is something you pay in to and carries a monthly premium.

      • bytecourier

        You are correct Hunter!
        My wife receives SS Disability payments and I receive regular SS payments and there are no spend down requirements.
        I have looked into qualification requirements for Medicaid since it covers long term care and Medicare doesn’t!
        It is Medicaid that has stringent limits on family income and spending down of assets to meet eligibility requirements. Even if only one member of a married couple permanently resides in a long term care facility, the “community spouse” must spend down his or her assets and not exceed a specified income level in order for the non-community spouse to qualify.

    • James L.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment, James. Yes, according to the Social Security Board of Trustees, the Disability Insurance Trust Fund will be depleted in 2016. If Congress does not act before then, the Disability Insurance Trust Fund would be sufficient to pay only 80 percent of scheduled disability insurance benefits. Additionally, the combined assets of the Social Security trust funds are projected to be depleted in 2033. If Congress does not act before then, there will only be sufficient income coming in to pay 77 percent of scheduled retirement benefits. For more information, please read our Trust Fund Frequently Asked Questions.

  8. Paul H.

    The SSAN fund is going broke and will no longer be able to pay out at 100% by 2033. The cost to administer the program is approximately 1%. Just a suggestion, but this 1% can be trimmed. Just noticed a huge billboard on the highway advertising Social Security. Do we really need to advertise about SSAN if I have been contributing to the system for the past 40 years. Who are these signs meant for and how much do they cost? I ‘ll bet if they were eliminated, we could extend the fund a little longer!!!!

    • HunterSThompson

      A few days perhaps. Can you show another government agency that runs on 1% ? Let them have it. From reading this website, the billboards seem in order due to the number of the misinformed.

    • James L.

      Paul, you’re correct that since 1989 the Social Security Administrative Expenses have totaled one percent or less of combined expenditures from the trust funds. We do not incur costs for placement of the billboards. The companies who own the billboards provide the advertising space free of charge as a public service. The billboards encourage people to sign up for a my Social Security account and do business with us online, all in an effort to provide more convenient service to the public while saving taxpayer dollars. You can create an account today to apply for or manage your benefits; review estimates of your retirement, disability, and survivors benefits; see your earnings record and the estimated Social Security and Medicare taxes you’ve paid; and more.

  9. Carol

    I will be 66 in a couple of months and will start collecting SS benefits then. I’m so very grateful that SS is available. It won’t cover all of my costs, as that was never the intention. I’ve worked for a couple of companies that offered pension plans. Unfortunately, I left prior to vesting, so I have about 10 years of working for which I will receive no pension payments. In addition, until legislation was passed, companies were never required to fund their pension plans, and some have gone broke, like Uniroyal where my mother worked for 30+ years. So sorry, retiree, you won’t get that pension payment after all, even though it was promised and was considered part of your (future) earnings.
    What no one will discuss is the fact that there is a relatively small wage limit on SS taxes, $118,500 for 2015. This is one of the last legal loopholes that allows highly compensated individuals to not pay SS taxes (plus the employer matching portion) on the majority of their earnings. The highly compensated are not paying their fair share; and, as has been mentioned, the number of retirees are increasing and the workforce is shrinking.This wage limit MUST be removed to allow the fund to grow. The SS rate MUST also be increased for both the employee and employer. These two must-do’s would put SS back on a healthy footing for future recipients.

    • Julia

      Carol while I agree with you on social security was never meant to be the sole income in retirement I do disagree with the limit removal comment. Although my income is under the limit, I am a tax professional, and I see plenty of the “high earners” paying, the new healthcare law put in place so many additional taxes on people that it is very sad. They already pay additional Medicare taxes, and all they will receive is the same amount that allowable when they retire. I am sure that not many people would advocate “raising the % ” while they are still employed, it will lower their pay check and will “cut hours” in addition since it is a burden on the employer. People do have the option of working until 70.
      We need to get away from the “rich should pay more” mentality, this what destroyed so many countries, instead of looking in to other people’s pockets we should try to do better our selves.
      I strive to be one of those “rich people” some day!

  10. gaye w.

    have been getting ss for 10 or more years am always seeing that one can increase ss payments and want to know how to if am 72 yrs old

    • Guy

      I started receiving full benefits at age 66 and continued working until age 74. My benefits continued to increase as my SS wages increased (highest 30 years are used to compute benefit payments).

    • Lorenzo D.

      Great question Gaye! The amount an individual can receive for one’s Social Security retirement or disability benefit depends on the amount of his or her average lifetime earnings. Generally, if you continue to work after retirement, your benefit amount increases. Each year we review the records for all Social Security recipients who are still working, to see if additional earnings may increase their monthly benefits. Another increase to your existing benefits is possible with cost-of-living adjustments (COLA). With COLAs, Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits keep pace with inflation. We hope this information is helpful!

      • Victoria

        COLA’s are a petty amount that is given out, if given out at all each year and then taken back in the form of higher costs of Medicare out of pocket costs!

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