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Social Security: Unemployment Insurance

“The fundamental case for unemployment protection lies in the fact that under a democratic form of society we are forced to prevent any large-scale starvation. Funds must be provided somehow . . . It is practical sense to build a system which will gather the funds in good times and disburse them in bad times. This simple theory underlies all formal proposals for unemployment insurance, for unemployment reserves.” Stanley King in American Labor Legislation Review, December 1933, p. 170.

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Social Security: Old Age Survivors Insurance Programs

Social security is the term commonly used to describe the Old Age, Survivors Insurance program (OASI) created by Title II of the Social Security Act of 1935. The original OASDI legislation was developed as one part of the federal response to the economic vulnerabilities of workers and their families revealed by the Great Depression of the 1930s.

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FDR’s Statement on Signing the Social Security Act

“Social Security” is the term commonly used to describe the federal retirement benefit program created by Title II of the Social Security Act of 1935. Title II, labeled FEDERAL OLD-AGE BENEFITS, created a “universal contributory social insurance” program designed to protect workers and their families against loss of income due to retirement or the death of a wage earner. Initially, to be eligible for Social Security a wage earner must have worked in covered employment, earned at least $2,000 and attained the age of 65. (Note: Initially, “covered employment” was very narrowly defined, limited mainly to paid work in manufacturing and commerce. As described in Section 210 below, large segments of the working population were exempt from coverage.)

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