What happened to social security under each president
What happened to social security under each president

What happened to social security under each president

FDR Presidential Library / Flickr.com

As people get older, their income decreases and their health expenses increase. Before Social Securitynecessity was part of the old age of millions of older Americans who relied on their children, churches, and charities to support themselves and meet their most basic needs.

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That all changed 87 years ago with the Social Security Act, which created an insurance fund that was to provide a basic income for workers who had passed their years of earnings. Today, the program remains the foundation of the social safety net, but it looks a lot different than it did in 1935.

Here’s how each president has impacted social security since the program was founded during the Great Depression.

Wikimedia Commons Public Domain

Wikimedia Commons Public Domain

Franklin Delano Roosevelt

The father of the Social Security Network, FDR, signed the Social Security Bill into law on August 14, 1935. He had called on Congress to create a Social Security policy just 14 months before the bill became the Social Security Act. The first part of the law, which was a key component of the New Deal, provided assistance to states to distribute to their needy elderly residents. The second part provided for a federal benefits program for retired workers.

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For the first time in American history, the majority of the population could count on something in their golden years beyond their children or their church.

At the height of the Great Depression, the law also provided unemployment insurance, which enabled the involuntarily unemployed to retain some of their purchasing power. The law also created four programs for the benefit of vulnerable children and the blind, all of which were funded by the federal government but run by the states. Finally, the law earmarked $ 8 million for states to expand health care in all locations.

The Library of Congress

The Library of Congress

Harry Truman

Fifteen years after the FDR signed the Social Security Act, millions of elderly, frail, and needy Americans were still excluded from social security and dependent on public charity. Harry Truman, who would become the first Medicare recipient under President Lyndon B. Johnson, expanded the program with the 1950 Social Security Act Amendments.

The changes expanded the program to 10 million more people by including the non-agricultural unemployed, although certain professions such as doctors, engineers and lawyers were excluded. It also expanded the program to cover the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. The law roughly doubled payouts for benefits, increased payouts for widows and orphans, and made it much easier to qualify.

Library of Congress / Library of Congress

Library of Congress / Library of Congress

Dwight D. Eisenhower

On September 1, 1954, President Eisenhower dramatically expanded social security to include 10 million more Americans in the old-age and survivors’ insurance program. The fund was opened to self-employed farmers and domestic workers as well as other specific occupations.

The 1954 extension also included a disability freezing provision that protected the disabled benefits and another that improved the benefits by removing the lowest earning years from the beneficiaries’ records.

In 1960, Eisenhower expanded the program once again to enable disabled workers of all ages and their relatives to receive benefits. The 1960 expansion also created a program known as Kerr-Mills, which provided medical care to elderly people who did not receive public benefits but could not afford to provide for themselves.

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AP / Shutterstock.com

AP / Shutterstock.com

John F. Kennedy

In 1961, JFK changed Social Security to allow workers to choose early retirement at the age of 62 – but only men. The changes also increased the monthly minimum benefit and the minimum disability benefit. Benefit increases were also extended to relatives and survivors.

The Kennedy revisions also made it easier to become eligible for the program. The new eligibility requirements brought 160,000 new applicants to the list in the first year.

The Library of Congress

The Library of Congress

Lyndon B. Johnson

Thirty years after the FDR created the program, Lyndon Johnson expanded Social Security more than any president since the program began with the Social Security Act Amendments of 1965, better known as the Medicare and Medicaid Act.

The first provision created a federalized health insurance program for people 65 and older – before Medicare, only about half of the country’s seniors were covered by health insurance, and most coverage was minimal. The second provision created a health insurance program for people with limited income regardless of age. Medicaid was to be funded by state and federal sources and administered by the states.

The White House Photo Office / Wikimedia Commons Public Domain

The White House Photo Office / Wikimedia Commons Public Domain

Richard Nixon

In 2022, social security beneficiaries received their largest increase in 40 years as the SSA responded to rising inflation with the highest cost of living adjustment (COLA) since 1982. They have Richard Nixon to thank for the boost.

In 1972, Nixon signed a bill that provided a 20% increase across the board for monthly benefits. More importantly, from 1975, the legislation he signed established the procedures for issuing automatic COLAs every year.

David Hume Kennerly / Wikimedia Commons

David Hume Kennerly / Wikimedia Commons

Gerald Ford

In 1975, President Ford adopted the Child Support Enforcement Program, a federal / state initiative that made it much more difficult for parents without custody to avoid their financial responsibilities to their children. It was the most important part of the Social Service Amendments of 1974, which created Part D of Section IV of the Social Security Act.

The measure gave SSA the responsibility to track down parents who had left their children and provided for the payment of wages – and social security benefits – to collect child support.

Wikimedia Commons Public Domain

Wikimedia Commons Public Domain

Jimmy Carter

In the late 1970s, Social Security was in serious financial distress and the program was on an unsustainable course. In an effort to strengthen the program’s long-term financial solvency, President Carter signed the 1977. Social Security changes. The changes included changes that Congress made to how benefits would be calculated.

The changes generally lowered the amount received by the beneficiaries. However, they also raised taxes to increase future revenue.

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The National Archives and Archives Administration

The National Archives and Archives Administration

Ronald Reagan

President Reagan initiated a massive revision of the program with the Social Security Amendments of 1983. The amendments allowed for the taxation of social security beneficiaries above a certain income level and increased tax rates for the self-employed to match the employer / employee payroll contributions. Social Security.

The so-called “self-employment tax” is still in force today.

Reagan’s signature raised the retirement age from 65 to 67 – albeit gradually over decades until 2027. The changes also removed the last remaining gender-based provisions and increased benefits for disabled widows and widowers who become eligible before age 60.

Mark Reinstein / REX

Mark Reinstein / REX

George HW Bush

President Bush did not sign any major social security legislation during his only term in office. He was the only president who did not change the program significantly in the more than half a century that has passed since its inception.

However, he passed several administrative laws. Some dealt with the way agencies exchanged information through their computer systems. Others dealt with things like protecting the privacy of the recipients.

Kenneth C. Zirkel / Wikimedia Commons Public Domain

Kenneth C. Zirkel / Wikimedia Commons Public Domain

Bill Clinton

President Clinton signed the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993, which increased the percentage of benefits that could be taxed for beneficiaries who earned higher incomes. When income limits were established under Reagan, up to 50% of a beneficiary’s social security benefits could be taxed. The bill, which President Clinton signed, raised this threshold to 85%.

Three years later in 1996, he signed the Contract With America Advancement Act. The legislation denied disability benefits to persons whose disability was related to alcoholism and / or drug abuse.

Eric Draper / George W. Bush presidential election

Eric Draper / George W. Bush presidential election

George W. Bush

President George W. Bush oversaw the largest revision of Medicare in the program’s nearly 40-year history. Most notably, the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement and Modernization Act (MMA) of 2003 amended Section XVIII (Medicare) of the Social Security Act to create Medicare Part D, the first prescription drug benefit in the program’s history.

The law also redesigned Medicare Part C, which is the administered care portion of the program. The legislation also changed the name of Part C from Medicare + Choice to Medicare Advantage.

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Dominick Sokotoff / Shutterstock

Dominick Sokotoff / Shutterstock

Barack Obama

President Obama’s signature achievement was the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare. The President signed the law into law on March 23, 2010.

The main impact that Obamacare had on social security was a reduction in the Medicare subsidy for prescription drugs for higher-income employees.

John Raoux / AP / Shutterstock

John Raoux / AP / Shutterstock

Donald Trump

President Trump’s biggest contribution to social security came in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. On March 27, 2020, he signed the Corona Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act – CARES Act – as law.

The action affected social security in several ways.

Two sections reduced FICA taxes owed by certain employers and delayed the payment of FICA / SECA while ensuring the solvency of social security funds. It also suspended the recovery of student loan debt from social security benefits.

Patrick Semansky / AP

Patrick Semansky / AP

Joe Biden

For the current president, it was once again the coronavirus that governed the legislation that would affect social security: President Biden signed the 2021 U.S. Rescue Plan Act.

Most of the regulations involving SSA required the agency to provide personal information and confirm CPR numbers for millions of stimulus recipients.

President Biden also signed an ordinance seeking to reduce the so-called “time tax,” a nickname for the bureaucracy that older Americans generally have to cut through while waiting to receive their benefits.

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