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A Message from Acting Commissioner Colvin

As we reflect on the 79th anniversary of Social Security, let’s remember Franklin D. Roosevelt’s famous words upon signing the Social Security Act into law on August 14, 1935:

“Today, a hope of many years’ standing is in large part fulfilled… 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.”

Seventy-nine years later, we continue to support President Roosevelt’s vision of hope and protection for the most vulnerable members of the American public through our efforts each and every day. As I reflect on our rich history, I am deeply honored to be a part of such a great organization with employees who truly embody the spirit of passionate public service. There is nothing more rewarding than making a difference in the lives of others. With our collective renewed commitment, there is no limit to what we can achieve.

Happy 79th anniversary SSA!

Did You Know?

The first person to get Social Security benefits was Ernest Ackerman. He received a payment for 17 cents in January 1937. This was a one-time, lump-sum pay-out–which was the only form of benefits paid during the start-up period January 1937 through December 1939.


Key Moments in the History of Social Security

A look back at the evolution of this vital government program that dates back to 1935

collage of photos illustrating a few events and eras in the evolution of social security since it was signed in to law in 1935


Social Security was born 85 years ago this Friday, in 1935, and over the subsequent decades it has matured into a vital source of inflation-adjusted income for retired and disabled workers, their dependents and their survivors. Today, the program pays benefits to nearly 69 million Americans. Here’s a timeline of significant events in the history of Social Security.