Social Security Act

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The Social Security Act of 1935, signed by Franklin D. Roosevelt, created a program that included social insurance programs, as well as public assistance. Both programs came about due to the depression and were created as part of the New Deal to benefit the citizens who needed assistance. While both programs were created to assist the public, each program had different eligibility requirements and accomplished different tasks. Social insurance programs were designed to provide continuing income to citizens over 65 after retirement, health benefits and provide benefits for the unemployed, survivors and disabled. Social insurance programs are non-means tested, work based and incorporate a large number of people while public assistance programs are small scale and means tested (Nelson Reid, personal communication, November 2010). Social insurance is composed of four components Old-Age and Survivor Insurance (OSAI), Federal Disability Insurance (DI), Federal Hospital Insurance (HI), and Supplementary Medical Insurance (SMI). “The HI and SMI programs make up what is known as Medicare” (D. Eitzen & G. Sage, 2007). According to Eitzen and Sage, disability benefits were added in 1954 and provided benefits to the disabled and their dependents. The opposition to social insurance comes from a conservative point of view. Conservatives do not like the idea of the federal government serving as a “broker”. Conservatives feel that the government has no business in the planning of retirement (D. Eitzen & G. Sage, 2007). Conservatives want privatization of social security and the government to refrain from taking money out of their checks. In contrast, public assistance programs were created to assist Americans who meet a certain financial eligibility standards. According to the text, there are three major public assistance programs including Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Security Income, and General Assistance (J. Marx, 2004). TANF, formerly...
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