What Is the U.S. Social Security Administration?

The U.S. Social Security Administration is an independent federal agency charged with managing various Social Security programs in the United States. Approximately 65,000 people across the nation staff the agency.

The primary job of the Social Security Administration is to handle the logistics of running the Social Security program for workers and retirees. As of 2015, the law requires nearly all workers and their employers to pay into the program. While the IRS collects this tax, the Social Security Administration tracks how much individuals have paid into the program to help determine how much they're eligible to receive upon retirement.

Many retirees depend on Social Security money to fund their retirement, and the agency needs to ensure that eligible parties are able to collect their funds. As a result, there are a number of branches across the United States to meet with people who have questions or need assistance. The Social Security program also disperses money to some survivors of eligible retirees, and some disabled people receive assistance through the program as well. Determining who is eligible for receiving money and how much they're entitled to takes a significant amount of work, and many employees of the agency spend time on individual cases to interpret its internal and Congress-mandated regulations.