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Social Security: At 84, As Relevant Now as Ever

Social Security Posters

Eighty-four years ago, on August 14, 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act into law.

As the face of America has evolved over the course of the last 84 years, so has the Social Security Administration. Social Security has expanded its safety net to provide benefits for retirees, people with disabilities, spouses, and children of deceased workers. The agency has evolved to serve the needs of a changing America. Now, we are celebrating this anniversary by looking at both our successful past and the path to an even brighter future.

Social Security is there for you during all stages of life. Right from the beginning, we issue a unique Social Security number to most newborns when an application is taken at the hospital. This allows us to track your income over your working career and accurately calculate your retirement benefit. We provide disability benefits to injured and chronically ill workers and their families. We provide survivors benefits to widows, widowers, and the minors of deceased workers. We also provide Supplemental Security Income (SSI) to those with low income and resources, and Extra Help with Medicare prescription drug costs for people who qualify.

Here in Washington state, Social Security plays a major part in supporting our communities and our economy. Over 1.35 million people receive monthly payments. Most are retirees but about 200,000 are workers with disabilities and over 100,000 are surviving spouses or children. Over 80 percent of the recipients also receive Medicare benefits.

In our decades of experience, Social Security has evolved to meet the fast-paced demands of the digital world. Creating an online my Social Security account, allows you to view your Social Security statement, verify the accuracy of your earnings record, and get estimates of your future monthly benefit. Once you begin receiving Social Security benefits, you can use your online account to manage your record. You can change your address and phone number, check your benefit information, update your electronic payment method, or obtain an instant benefit verification letter or replacement Medicare card. If you haven’t already done so, sign up for an account at

Our safe and secure online services allow you to apply for retirement, spouses, Medicare, and disability benefits from the comfort of your home. You can quickly complete an online retirement application at

We look forward to the rest of this century with an ongoing commitment to proudly serve Social Security customers throughout their lifetime, when and where they need us. To learn more about the history of Social Security go to

Contributor Kirk Larson is the Social Security Washington Public Affairs Specialist.

Posted in Social Security