The name of a senator who witnessed the signing of the Social Security Act of 1935 was misspelled in a caption Wednesday. He is Sen. Augustine Lonergan.
1935: The first Social Security Act becomes law, extending retirement benefits to most workers, creating the first federal-state program for Aid to the Needy Aged, and providing Aid to Dependent Children and unemployment insurance.
1936: First Social security numbers issued.
1937: Supreme Court declares Social Security Act constitutional.
1939: Benefits extended to survivors and dependents of insured workers.
1940: First monthly benefits paid.
1950: Congress extends benefits to regularly employed farm and domestic workers, most nonfarm self-employed persons, employes of nonprofit organizations, and state and local employes not covered by another system. Benefits under Aid to Dependent Children (later called Aid to Families with Dependent Children) extended to needy parents.
1954: Coverage extended to farm and professional self-employed persons, clergy on an elective basis and other groups.
1955: SSA begins using computers.
1956: Coverage extended to members of the armed services and to the rest of the professional self-employed except for doctors. Benefits provided for disabled workers (aged 50 to 64) and for disabled children age 18 and older.
1958: Benefits paid to dependents of disabled workers.
1960: Age limit removed on benefits to disabled workers.
1965: Medicare program enacted. Self-employed doctors covered by Social Security.
1969: Black-lung benefit program for miners and families enacted.
1972: Automatic cost-of-living benefit increase enacted.
1973: Supplemental Security Income payments begin.
1983: Congress passes amendments designed to restore the financial soundness of Social Security. New federal civilian employes and all employes of nonprofit organizations included, benefits of higher-income beneficiaries are taxed and the retirement age gradually increased.