1985 22¢ Social Security Act
Issue Date: August 14, 1985
City: Baltimore, MD
Printed By: American Bank Note Company
Printing Method: Photogravure
Color: Deep and light blue
Celebrates the Social Security Act of 1935, which provided for benefits for people over 60. Today, the program has been expanded to include dependents, the disabled, and others.
Social Security Act Of 1935
On August 14, 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act into law.
The Social Security Act was part of Roosevelt’s second New Deal. The initial purpose of the act was to provide income for the unemployed and retirees beginning on January 1, 1940.
During his public statement on the day he signed the act into law, Roosevelt stated he was concerned for “young people [who] have come to wonder what would be their lot when they came to old age” as well as those that were employed but had no job security. Roosevelt went on to say that “we can never insure one hundred percent of the population against one hundred percent of the hazards and vicissitudes of life,” and that he hoped the act would keep senior citizens from being impoverished.
Ida May Fuller of Ludlow, Vermont, received the first monthly retirement check. The retired legal secretary received a check in the amount of $22.54 and continued to receive payments until her death at age 100. In 1939, survivors’ benefits and payments for spouses and children were added.
Medicare was added in 1965, as part of President Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society” program, and annual cost of living adjustments began in 1972. In 2004, $492 billion in benefits were distributed to 47.5 million people. Controversial at its passage, the future of Social Security is still an issue of national debate.
Click here to read the full Social Security Act.