What’s an American classic? Something that stays fresh and wonderful generation after generation. Something that says, “This is America.” Like ice cream cones. The Statue of Liberty. Sunday drives. The March on Washington and “I have a dream.” I Love Lucy. And our Social Security system.

Social Security - It's an American Classic!

On this date in 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act. On its 77th birthday, we hail Social Security as an American classic! Why?

  • Social Security has brought Americans together across generations. Working together, we’ve built a system that provides income and security for workers and their families when they need it — when income is lost due to retirement, disability, or death.
  • For three-quarters of a century, through wars, recessions, natural disasters — and stock market crashes — Social Security has made every payment, on time and in full.
  • Social Security is the foundation of retirement security for most Americans — especially women. Without income from Social Security, half of women 65 and older would be poor.
  • Social Security is a family insurance plan that protects young workers, their spouses, and their children. More than 3.2 million children rely on Social Security.

And Social Security is still going strong! Even with no changes, it can pay 100 percent of promised benefits for the next 20 years, and 75 percent of promised benefits after that. Yes, there’s a long-term shortfall. But to put it in perspective: eliminating the entire 75-year shortfall costs about as much as extending the Bush-era tax cuts for the richest two percent.

Social Security will only turn 77 once! To celebrate this American classic you can:

When he signed the Social Security Act, President Roosevelt said that this law “represents a cornerstone in a structure which is being built but is by no means complete.” Since 1935 Americans have expanded and improved this structure, providing benefits for widows and children, workers with disabilities, benefits for divorced spouses (initially, after a 20-year marriage, later reduced to 10 years), eliminating sex discrimination in the award of benefits, and providing automatic cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) that help protect the value of Social Security benefits from eroding over time.

We need your help to protect and strengthen Social Security! Later this year, Congress will make far-reaching budget decisions — and cuts to Social Security benefits, particularly by reducing annual cost-of-living adjustments, are reportedly on the table. After Congress returns, we’ll keep you posted and make it easy for you to take action to protect Social Security. In addition, the policy makers we choose in November will make important decisions about the future of our Social Security system. So be sure you’re registered to vote!

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