Social security began on Aug. 14, 1935 when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act. Taxes in accordance to the act were first collected in January of 1937, and lump sum payments were given the same month. Regular monthly payments for benefactors began in January of 1940.
Under the 1935 law that President Roosevelt signed, social security was originally a retirement program. Money from the social security fund was only given to the primary worker of each family after retirement. However, a change in the law in 1939 added survivors benefits for the spouses and children of the retired person. In 1956, a disability clause was added to the law to support disabled workers.