100.Purposes of Social Security

100.1What are the purposes of Social Security?

The Social Security Act and related laws establish a number of programs that have the following basic purposes:

  1. To provide for the material needs of individuals and families;

  2. To protect aged and disabled persons against the expenses of illnesses that may otherwise use up their savings;

  3. To keep families together; and

  4. To give children the chance to grow up healthy and secure.

100.2What programs are included under the Social Security Act and related laws?

The following programs are included:

  1. Retirement insurance;

  2. Survivors insurance;

  3. Disability insurance;

  4. Hospital and medical insurance for the aged, the disabled, and those with end-stage renal disease;

  5. Prescription Drug Benefit

  6. Extra Help with Medicare Prescription Drug Costs

  7. Supplemental security income;

  8. Special Veterans Benefits;

  9. Unemployment insurance; and

  10. Public assistance and welfare services, including:

    1. Temporary assistance for needy families;

    2. Medical assistance;

    3. Maternal and child health services;

    4. Child support enforcement;

    5. Family and child welfare services;

    6. Food stamps; and

    7. Energy assistance.

Last Revised: Apr. 18, 2006