This Month in History

August 13, 1934 First formal meeting of the President's Committee on Economic Security.

August 9, 1935 The Social Security Bill (H.R. 7260) was sent to the President after acceptance of the final conference report by the House and the Senate.

August 14, 1935 The Social Security Act (H.R. 7260, Public Law No. 271, 74th Congress) became law with the President's signature at approximately 3:30 p.m. on a Wednesday, in the Cabinet Room of the White House.

August 23,1935 The Senate confirmed the President's nomination of the original members of the Social Security Board, John G. Winant, Chairman (for six years), Arthur J. Altmeyer, (for four years), and Vincent M. Miles, (for two years).

August 10, 1939 The President signed the Social Security Amendments of 1939. The program was broadened to include dependents and survivors' benefits. Payment of monthly benefits was advanced to 1940.

August 14, 1941 In the Atlantic Charter, Roosevelt and Churchill included among the common principles in national policies of the two countries the desire "to bring about the fullest collaboration between all nations in the economic field with the object of securing, for all, improved labor standards, economic advancement and Social Security."

August 14, 1944 One million old-age insurance benefits were in force.

August 28, 1950 The President signed the 1950 Social Security Amendments. This legislation extended coverage under the old-age and survivors insurance program to about 10 million more persons; it liberalized the eligibility conditions; it improved the retirement test; it provided wage credits of $160 a month for military service from September 1940 to July 1947; it increased benefits substantially; it raised the wage base for tax and benefit computation purposes; it provided a new contribution schedule; and it eliminated the 1944 provision authorizing appropriations to the trust fund from the General Treasury.

August 1, 1956 The Social Security Act was amended to provide monthly benefits to permanently and totally disabled workers aged 50-64; to pay child's benefits to disabled children aged 18 or over of retired or deceased workers, if their disability began before age 18; it lowered to age 62 the retirement age for widows and female parents.

August 28, 1958 The Social Security Act was amended to increase benefits and provided benefits for dependents of disabled worker beneficiaries; raised to $4,800 the amount of earnings taxable and creditable for benefit purposes, set a new schedule for contribution rates, extended coverage and made numerous other changes in Title II. Public assistance amendments revised the formula for Federal sharing in State assistance expenditures. These amendments also extended the program to Guam and raised the dollar limitations on Federal payments to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Child health and welfare programs were also amended.

August 13, 1981 The Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1981 made major changes in Social Security, SSI, AFDC and other programs affecting SSA. These included: a phasing out of student's benefits; stopping young parents benefits when a child reached 16; limiting the lump-sum death payment; retaining the earnings test at age 72 through 1982, after which the exempt age would be 70; imposing a disability megacap offset; introducing retrospective accounting for SSI benefits; and changes in the minimum benefit.

August 14, 1985 Social Security celebrates its 50th Anniversary.

August 1, 1989 Gwendolyn S. King became Commissioner of the Social Security Administration.

August 15, 1994 President Clinton signed legislation (H.R. 4277) establishing the Social Security Administration as an independent agency. Among other changes, the legislation establishes a six-year term for the Commissioner and makes the Principal Deputy Commissioner a political appointment subject to Senate confirmation.

August 22, 1996 President Clinton signed the "Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996." This "welfare reform" legislation terminated SSI eligibility for most non-citizens. As of the date of enactment, no new non-citizens could be added to the benefit rolls and all existing non-citizen beneficiaries would eventually be removed from the rolls (unless they met one of the exceptions in the law.) Also effective upon enactment were provisions eliminating the "comparable severity standard" and reference to "maladaptive behavior" in the determination of disability for children to receive SSI. Children receiving benefits under the old standards were to be reviewed and removed from the rolls if they could not qualify under the new standards.

August 5, 1997 President Clinton signed H.R. 2015, The Balanced Budget Act of 1997, into law. The bill passed the House on 7/30/97 by a vote of 346 to 85, and passed the Senate the next day on a vote of 85 to 15. This law restores SSI eligibility to certain cohorts of non- citizens whose eligibility otherwise would be terminated under the "welfare reform" of 1996. It also extends for up to one year the period for redetermining the eligibility of certain aliens who may ultimately not be eligible for continued benefits. It makes numerous other technical changes, mostly involving the SSI program.

August 5, 1997 President Clinton signed PL 105-34, the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997, which permitted the IRS to recover back taxes by garnishment of Social Security benefits.

August 5, 2000 SSA, in partnership with the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Presidential Library in Hyde Park, New York, hosted a special commemorative program in honor of the 65th anniversary of the signing of the Social Security Act.

August 31, 2000 Based on data from the Bureau of the Public Debt, the invested assets of the combined OASI and DI Trust Funds passed the trillion dollar mark, at $1,000,001,712,600.

August 2, 2010 Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner of Social Security, opened in St. Louis, Missouri the agency’s fifth National Hearing Center (NHC).  

August 14, 2010 The Social Security Act's 75th anniversary.