The Rich History Behind Social Security

With Friday marking the 80th anniversary of Social Security, we thought today would be a good time to review the rich history of the program.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt passed the Social Security Act during the middle of the Great Depression, as he had concerns about the well-being of the public. His approach was simple: as the AARP put it, “workers would contribute with every paycheck and receive a monthly stipend in the mail upon reaching retirement age.”

It would be an insurance plan, rather than a handout (a term you may hear misguided politicians using now). At the time, those who opposed the plan deemed it a socialist measure. Arguments over the Social Security Act continued even after it was passed, as the American public began to register for benefits. However, the arguments began to die down and the program gained steam, as so many people began applying that thousands of workers had to be hired to keep up with demands.

Interestingly, the first Social Security card was granted to John D. Sweeney Jr., the son of a wealthy New York manufacturer, nearly a year after the passage of the act. Although he received the first card, Sweeney was not granted the first Social Security number (001-01-0001). According to the AARP, that number went to a woman in New Hampshire, as the first three digits on cards were distributed (and still are) based on the state or region where applicants are born.

Here are some other Social Security milestones:

  • 1937: Ida May Fuller receives the first monthly Social Security check issued for $22.54
  • 1950: The first cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) is made to payments amounts
  • 1956: Benefits are added for disabled workers (Social Security Disability Insurance)
  • 1961: Workers may begin receiving retirement benefits at the age of 62
  • 1983: The retirement age is raised to 67
  • 1995: The Social Security Administration becomes a separate federal agency
  • 2000: It is announced that those who decide to continue to work can still receive full retirement benefits
  • 2015: More than $900 billion in Social Security benefits are paid

Let Our Tulsa Social Security Disability Attorneys Help You

We suggest visiting our Social Security FAQ page if you have questions about qualifying for benefits. We are very proud that so many organizations are supporting the rich history of Social Security this week.

Our Tulsa disability attorneys represent people who are interested in collecting benefits. Those who truly need assistance, who are disabled, can reach us by calling the phone number or by using the contact form on this page.

Troutman & Troutman, P.C. – Tulsa Social Security Disability attorneys


    I didn't think there was a caring professional considerate attorney firm on the planet, but Troutman & Troutman proved me wrong. From the receptionist to the legal assistance to the attorney and more they were exceptional people.

    - Robert S.

    They did a fantastic job getting everything gathered up and getting the trial done as quickly as possible. Anytime I had a question they were patient and help me understand what was going on. Especially Christy and Charlie were great.

    - Michael M.

    Steve Troutman was able to get my short-term and long-term disability for me. Then Erin another lawyer for their firm got my Social security disability for me. Great people.

    - Billy S.

    Mr. Troutman walked me through the entire process. Heather was available each time I called, answered all my crazy questions, and helped me fill out forms along the way. I was never treated like I was wasting time.

    - Julia C.

    Erin and Keith were fabulous! They were compassionate, helpful, and very responsive! They made the process very smooth and painless every step of the way.

    - Valerie W.

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