The Social Security Administration Beginnings

The Social Security Administration Beginnings

The Social Security Administration or the SSA is the governing body behind social securities. However there wasn’t always a time when there was a legal socio-economic means of bequeathing securities to those in need.

Before the Social Security Administration began, the only sources of security for those faced by the uncertainties of unemployment, disability, death, and eventual retirement, are the traditional sources of income such as one’s labor, farm assets, and the capital of the family and all that comes from community charity. Yet the inevitable threats to one’s security are such demanding that the traditional sources of security needed more secured formal systems of security. Also, societies have been expanding and becoming more and more complex.

What really began as the earliest form of ‘formal’ social security administration are the guild, trade unions, and fraternal organizations of the medieval century. These European groups sought to protect the economic welfare of their members as they are banded together into mutual aid. Much as the modern social security administration, these economic groups regulated production and employment, and also provided a range of benefits for its members such as giving financial help during poverty, illness, and making contributions for death expenses. Later on these groups would grow capable of providing actuarially-based lifetime insurances reinforced during the Industrial Revolution.

The benefits bequeathed from the European social security administration prototype are much popularly preferred that US and other countries adapted it, and until these days some of the earliest forms of fraternal groups are still familiar: the Freemasons, the Odd Fellows, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, the Loyal Order of Moose, and the Fraternal Order of Eagles.

Also among the systems acquired by US from the English are the ‘Poor Laws’ which featured only local responsibility to support the destitute – an arrangement which nonetheless stigmatized the ‘unworthy from the ‘worthy poor’ without standardized criteria basis. On the other hand, a more formal social security administration for the aged was pushed forward by Thomas Paine’s article called Agrarian Justice appealing for the establishment of a public system of economic security for the new America to guard against poverty in old-age.

Yet the first formal ‘social security administration’ didn’t come to America until the Civil War days in the form of pensions. By 1910, the Veteran soldiers of the Civil War enjoyed a security insurance program for their disability and old-age, including benefits for their survivors – all similar in some ways to the Social Security Administration of these days.


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