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  • Social Security number

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    A Social Security card issued by the Railroad Retirement Board in 1943 to a now deceased person. In the United States, a Social Security number (SSN) is a nine-digit number issued to U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and temporary (working) residents under section 205(c)(2) of the Social Security Act, codified as . The number is issued to an individual by the Social Security Administration, an independent agency of the United States government. Although its primary purpose is to track individuals for Social Security purposes, the Social Security number has become a de facto national identification number for taxation and other purposes. A Social Security number may be obtained by applying on Form SS-5, application for A Social Security Number Card.

  • History of Social Security in the United States

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    A limited form of the Social Security program began as a measure to implement "social insurance" during the Great Depression of the 1930s, when poverty rates among senior citizens exceeded 50 percent. Roosevelt signs Social Security Act, August 14, 1935. Standing are Rep. Robert Doughton (D-NC); unknown person in shadow; Sen. Robert Wagner (D-NY); Rep. John Dingell (D-MI); Rep. Joshua Twing Brooks (D-PA); the Secretary of Labor, Frances Perkins; Sen. Pat Harrison (D-MS); and Rep. David Lewis (D-MD). The Social Security Act was enacted August 14, 1935. The Act was drafted during President Franklin D. Roosevelt's first term by the President's Committee on Economic Security, under Frances Perkins, and passed by Congress as part of the New Deal. The Act was an attempt to limit what were seen as dangers in the modern American life, including old age, poverty, unemployment, and the burdens of widows and fatherless children. By signing this Act on August 14, 1935, President Roosevelt became the first president to advocate federal assistance for the elderly. The Act provided benefits to retirees and the unemployed, and a lump-sum benefit at death. Payments to current retirees are financed by a payroll tax on current workers' wages, half directly as a payroll tax and half paid by the employer. The act also gave money to states to provide assistance to aged individuals (Title I), for unemployment insurance (Title III), Aid to Families with Dependent Children (Title IV), Maternal and Child Welfare (Title V), public health services (Title VI), and the blind (Title X).

  • Social Security Administration

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    One part of SSA headquarters in Woodlawn, Maryland Another view of SSA headquarters The United States Social Security Administration (SSA) is an independent agency of the U.S. federal government that administers Social Security, a social insurance program consisting of retirement, disability, and survivors' benefits. To qualify for most of these benefits, most workers pay Social Security taxes on their earnings; the claimant's benefits are based on the wage earner's contributions. Otherwise benefits such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are given based on need. The Social Security Administration was established by a law codified at . Its current leader, Deputy Commissioner of Operations Nancy Berryhill, was acting commissioner from January 19, 2017 through November 17, 2017. SSA is headquartered in Woodlawn, Maryland, just to the west of Baltimore, at what is known as Central Office. The agency includes 10 regional offices, 8 processing centers, approximately 1300 field offices, and 37 Teleservice Centers. , about 60,000 people were employed by SSA. Headquarters non-supervisory employees of SSA are represented by American Federation of Government Employees Local 1923. Social Security is the largest social welfare program in the United States. For 2014, the net cost of Social Security was $906.4 billion, an amount corresponding to 21% of US Federal Government expenditures. It has been named the 12th best place to work in the U.S. federal government (out of 18 large agencies).

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