How did Social Security begin?
February 1st, 2012|
Ida May Fuller, a resident of rural Vermont, was the first beneficiary of a recurring Social Security payment on January 31, 1940, according to Bloomberg. Her SS number was 00-000-001.
Fuller was born in 1874. She began to collect SS when she was age 66. She lived to be age 100. Coincidentally, she died on the 35th anniversary of receiving her first SS check, on January 31, 1975.
Her check and all of the SS payments to follow were the direct result of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal program, but it was actually his distant cousin, Theodore Roosevelt, who introduced the U.S. to the notion of social insurance.
Franklin D. Roosevelt reintroduced Social Security at the depths of the Depression, and the Social Security Act was signed in 1935.
“We can never insure 100 percent of the population against 100 percent of the hazards and vicissitudes of life,” Roosevelt said on signing the act, “but we have tried to frame a law which will give some measure of protection to the average citizen and to his family against the loss of a job and against poverty-ridden old age.”
The program has had an enormous impact on three generations of Americans, including people like Ida May Fuller and the more than 50 million Americans who collect benefits today.