What Is the Role of the Social Security Administration?


Quick Answer

The role of the Social Security Administration is to administer the survivors and disability insurance programs and the federal retirement program. The Social Security Administration also oversees programs that provide supplemental security income for the blind, disabled and aged. Additionally, the Administration issues Social Security numbers to individuals.

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Full Answer

The Social Security Administration performs certain functions that pertain to the black lung benefits program, and it directs the aid to the blind, disabled and aged in the Virgin Islands, Guam and Puerto Rico. A person's nine-digit Social Security number is her first and continuous link with Social Security. The number helps the Social Security Administration to record all wages covered under Social Security accurately, as well as to monitor records once individuals start to receive benefits.

The Social Security Act was signed by President Franklin Roosevelt on August 14, 1935. Taxes to fund the program were first collected in January 1937, and the first one-time, lump-sum payments were made the same month. Ongoing monthly benefits began in January 1940. Under the 1935 law, benefits were only paid to the primary worker. In 1939, the law changed to add survivor benefits and benefits for the retiree's children and spouse. Disability benefits were added in 1956.

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