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Social Insurance & Social Security Chronology: Part III – 1930s

Detailed Chronology of Social Insurance & Social Security: Part III – 1930s

 

th-1NOTE: The following pages present a detailed historical chronology of the development of social insurance, with particular emphasis on Social Security. Items are included in this compilation on the basis of their significance for Social Security generally, their importance as precedents, their value in reflecting trends or issues, or their significance in SSA’s administrative history. The information includes legislative events in Social Security and related programs. Our expectation is that this Chronology can be used as a reference tool and finding aid for important dates and events in Social Security’s long history.

(SPECIAL NOTE: The bulk of this Chronology was compiled over nearly 20 years by Dr. Abe Bortz, the first SSA Historian. We owe a special debt of gratitude to Abe Bortz for this sustained effort.)

 

Chronology

1930s

January 1, 1930 The California Old-age Pension Law, which was mandatory and Statewide in its application, became effective.

June 1, 1930 The Wyoming Old-age Pension Law became effective.

July 21, 1930 The Veterans Administration was established by Executive Order.

1930 The census reported 6,634,000 persons (5.4% of the population) over 65.

1931 The American Medical Association established its Bureau of Medical Economics indicating its growing interest in the economic problems of medical care.

January 29, 1932 The first State unemployment insurance law was enacted in Wisconsin.

July, 1932 The Reconstruction Finance Corporation was given authority to make loans and advances to States for relief purposes.

October, 1932 The Committee on the Costs of Medical Care’s report endorsed group practice and voluntary health insurance. The report recommended State-sponsored medical care supported by taxes or insurance for the medically indigent. The AMA called the idea cumbersome and bureaucratic.

1932 The American Federation of Labor endorsed social insurance.

1932 President Hoover recommended that the concentration of health education and recreational activities be incorporated into a single executive department.

March 4-June 16, 1933 During the Roosevelt Administration’s first “Hundred Days”, Congress committed the country to extraordinary reforms with the Federal Government assuming responsibility for the welfare of millions of unemployed. The primary aim of all the legislation was recovery.

May 11, 1933 Senator Morris Sheppard of Texas introduced three bills designed to set up a Federal Credit Union system.

May 12, 1933 The Federal Emergency Relief Administration was created with an appropriation of $500,000,000. It was authorized to match the sums allotted for the relief of unemployed by State and local governments with Federal funds. The measure providing for the first direct grants to States for unemployment relief was expanded to provide medical attention and medical supplies to recipients of unemployment relief programs.

May 12, 1933 The Agriculture Adjustment Act created the Agricultural Adjustment Administration.

May 18, 1933 The first significant use of the term “Social Security” came about when the American Association for Old-age Security became the American Association for Social Security.

June 6, 1933 The Wagner-Peyser Act was enacted to establish a national employment system. It provided Federal grants to States that affiliated their employment services with the United States Employment Service. The latter was established as a separate bureau in the Labor Department to administer the Act.

June 16, 1933 National Industrial Recovery Act set up the National Recovery Administration.

June 16 1933 The Public Works Administration was established.

June 16 1933 The Glass-Steagall Banking Reform Act was passed.

Fall of 1933 Upton Sinclair launched his EPIC (End Poverty in California) movement. November 1933 The Civilian Works Agency was set up.

1933 The American Hospital Association endorsed hospital prepayment plans and established a list of essentials which should characterize such plans. This led to the establishment of Blue Cross.

1933 Federal Rules and Regulations No. 7 defined policies and procedures under which medical care might be given to those receiving unemployment relief in the States.

January 1934 Dr. Francis Townsend and Robert Clements set up the organization Old-age Revolving Pensions, Ltd.

February 1934 A bill was introduced in Congress which provided for a Federal excise tax on employer payrolls, to be offset by employer contributions to State unemployment insurance funds.

June 6, 1934 Congress established the U.S. Employment Service which, jointly with the States, established and maintained employment agencies.

June 8, 1934 Federal legislation to promote economic security was recommended in the President’s Message to Congress which stated: “Among our objectives I place the security of men, women and children of the nation first.”

June 26, 1934 The Federal Credit Union Act of 1934 was approved, making it possible to establish federally-chartered credit unions in all of the United States. The Federal Credit Union Section was established in the Farm Credit Administration.

June 27, 1934 The Railroad Retirement Act of 1934 was approved by the president. The Act, to be administered by the Railroad Retirement Board, provided for retirement and disability annuities and lump-sum payments to survivors.

June 29, 1934 The President created the Committee on Economic Security to study the problems relating to economic security and to make recommendations for a program of legislation. (This was Executive Order No. 6757.)

July 24, 1934 Dr. Edwin E. Witte accepted the position of Executive Director of the Committee on Economic Security.

August 13, 1934 First meeting of the President’s Committee on Economic Security.

October 1, 1934 The first Federal Credit Union charter was issued to a group of people in Texarkana, Texas.

November 5, 1934 Roosevelt announces the members of a 23-member Advisory Council to the Committee on Economic Security, with Frank P. Graham, President of the University of North Carolina, as Chairman.

November 14-15, 1934 The National Conference on Economic Security was held in the District of Columbia. Representatives of employers, labor and the public attended.

1934 Commercial insurance against the costs of hospitalization was first offered by private insurance companies.

1934 New York was the first State to pass an Enabling Act permitting the establishment of nonprofit hospital service corporations under the State Insurance Commissioner.

1934 The United States Government became a member of the International Labor Organization.

January 4, 1935 Roosevelt’s message to Congress called for legislation to provide assistance for the unemployed, the aged, destitute children and the physically handicapped.

January 15, 1935 The Committee on Economic Security released its Report to President Roosevelt.

January 17, 1935 The Committee on Economic Security’s recommendations, embodied in the Economic Security Bill, were introduced in the 74th Congress. Recommendations included Federal old-age insurance, Federal-State public assistance and unemployment insurance programs, and extension of public health, maternal and child health, services for crippled children and child welfare services, and vocational rehabilitation but not health insurance. S.1130 was introduced in the Senate by Senator Robert F. Wagner; H.R. 4120 was introduced in the House of Representatives by Representative Robert L. Doughton; and H.R. 4142 was introduced by Representative David J. Lewis.

January 21, 1935 Hearings began before the House Committee on Ways and Means on the Economic Security Bill. The Senate Finance Committee began hearings the next day.

February 4, 1935 The American Medical Association’s House of Delegates met in an emergency session and took a position against compulsory health insurance.

March 1, 1935 Congressman Frank Buck (Calif.) made the motion to change the name of the Economic Security Bill to the Social Security Bill. The motion was carried by a voice vote from the House Ways and Means Committee.

April 4, 1935 The Social Security Bill was introduced in the House of Representatives with a report. This bill (H.R. 7260) replaced the Economic Security Bill.

April 8, 1935 The Works Progress Administration created by the Emergency Relief Appropriation Act, established a Resettlement Administration and a National Youth Administration to administer emergency work relief programs for the unemployed.

April 19, 1935 The Social Security Bill (H.R. 7260) was passed by the House of Representatives, 372 to 33 (25 not voting). Against were 13 Democrats, 18 Republicans and 2 Farm Labor.

May 6, 1935 The Railroad Retirement Act of 1934 was declared unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court.

May 6, 1935 The President signed an Executive Order terminating the Federal Emergency Relief Administration and creating the Works Progress Administration.

May 13, 1935 The Social Security Bill (H.R. 7260) was reported out by the Senate Finance Committee with amendments, by a vote of 7 to 6. (Against, were 5 Republicans, 1 Democrat and there were 12 who did not vote.)

May 27, 1935 The National Industrial Recovery Act was invalidated by the Supreme Court.

June 19, 1935 The Social Security Bill was passed in the Senate by a vote of 77 Yes, 6 No, and 12 Not Voting.

June 1935 The health report of the Committee on Economic Security, “Risks to Economic Security Arising out of Illness,” was filed but not published.

July 5, 1935 The National Labor Relations Act was enacted.

July 15, 1935 The first compulsory health insurance bill was introduced in Congress, the “Epstein bill” sponsored by Senator Arthur Capper, (Kansas).

August 9, 1935 The Social Security Bill (H.R. 7260) was sent to the President after acceptance of the final conference report by the House and the Senate.

August 14, 1935 The Social Security Act (H.R. 7260, Public Law No. 271, 74th Congress) became law with the President’s signature at approximately 3:30 p.m. on a Wednesday.

August 15,1935 The President created the Interdepartmental Committee to Coordinate Health and Welfare Activities. The committee was composed of the Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, Chairman, Assistant Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture, and the Second Assistant Secretary of Labor (Arthur J. Altmeyer).

August 23,1935 The Senate confirmed the President’s nomination of the original members of the Social Security Board, John G. Winant, Chairman (for six years), Arthur J. Altmeyer, (for four years), and Vincent M. Miles, (for two years).

August 26,1935 Appropriations for Social Security died with Senator Huey Long’s “swan song” filibuster.

August 27,1935 The Social Security Board moved into the Department of Labor building at 14th Street and Constitution Avenue. (By the end of the year the Board had 160 employees.)

August 29,1935 The Railroad Retirement Act of 1935 was approved by the President.

August 29, 1935 The original work week for the Social Security Board was set at 39 hours – 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., plus four hours on Saturday.

September 14, 1935 First meeting of the members of the Social Security Board.

October 1, 1935 The existence of the Committee on Economic Security terminated when the Social Security Board came into operation as the permanent agency to administer the legislation of the Social Security Act. The Board was located in Room 6111, Department of Labor Building, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue, Washington, D.C., Telephone Number District 6-450.

October 16, 1935 The Social Security Board received funds from the Department of Labor for preliminary operations.

November 1, 1935 Henry P. Seidemann was appointed the Coordinator of the Social Security Board.

November 6, 1935 The Committee on Economic Security submitted a Final Report on its studies to the President.

November 15, 1935 The first unemployment compensation law, under the Social Security Act, that of the District of Columbia, was approved for grants by the Social Security Board.

November 27, 1935 The Social Security Board appointed Frank Bane, Executive Director, and John J. Corson, Assistant Executive Director.

November 1935 Appointments made: Wilbur J. Cohen, Assistant Economic Analyst; Mrs. Leona V. MacKinnon, Office of the Board; Mrs. Sarah Napier, Bureau of Business Management; James V. Bennett, Director, Bureau of Business Management; R. Gordon Wagenet, Director, Bureau of Unemployment Compensation.

December 2, 1935 The Social Security Board appointed a Field Office Committee to determine the best locations for offices to serve the public covered by the Social Security Act.

December 20, 1935 The first State plan for old-age assistance under the Social Security Act–Michigan’s–was approved by the Social Security Board.

December 23, 1935 Wisconsin’s plans for old-age assistance, aid to the needy blind and for dependent children were approved by the Social Security Board.

January 1, 1936 An Informational Service was established under the Social Security Board.

January 1, 1936 The Federal unemployment tax of one percent became applicable to employers of eight or more, with a credit offset for contributions paid to State unemployment funds.

January 15, 1936 Murray W. Latimer was appointed the Director, Bureau of Federal Old-Age Benefits.

January 1936 Miss Jane Hoey was appointed Director, Bureau of Public Assistance.

February 11, 1936 The first appropriation act was made to implement the Social Security Act with funds for organization of the Social Security Board, and for the administration of the Federal program and grants to States.

February 13, 1936 The first Public Assistance checks were mailed (5 States).

February 14, 1936 The Social Security Board approved twelve regional areas and twelve regional offices for its field office setup.

February 16, 1936 Thomas H. Eliot was appointed as General Counsel. Walter Hamilton was appointed the Director of the Bureau of Research and Statistics. Louis Resnick was appointed the Director, Informational Services.

February 1936 Public assistance payments to recipients were first made with Federal participation under the Social Security Act for old-age assistance (17 States), aid to dependent children (10 States), aid to blind (9 States).

March 5, 1936 The first Federal grant for administration of a State unemployment insurance law (New Hampshire) was certified by the Social Security Board.

March 1936 William L. Mitchell was appointed the Director, Bureau of Business Management, replacing James V. Bennett who left.

April 1936 The Social Security Board moved into its own headquarters on 1712 G Street, Washington, D.C. (The Board had been in the Department of Labor building, but was later moved to this 1712 G Street which was the old Department of Labor building.) The Board offices were located on the 7th floor.

May 1, 1936 The first seven regional offices of the Social Security Board were opened; the remaining five were opened by the end of the year.

May 8, 1936 The following appointments of Regional Directors of the Social Security Board were made: John Pearson, Region I (Boston); Anna Rosenberg, Region II (New York) ; William L. Dill, Region III (Philadelphia); Fred Wilcox, Region VIII (Minneapolis); Ed McDonald, Region IX (Kansas City); Oscar Powell, Region X (San Antonio).

May 19, 1936 Clowacki R. Parker was appointed the Regional Director of the Social Security Board, Washington, D.C.

May 21, 1936 Administrative Order No. 11 defined the function of a new regional official, the Executive Assistant. Order No. 11 was revised on July 20th and again on October 5, 1937. Helen Harper was appointed the Regional Director of Region XI, Denver.

June 1, 1936 Benedict Crowell was appointed the Regional Director, Region V, (Cleveland).

June 2, 1936 The Social Security account number, which contained no significant facts about the employee other than the State of registry, was approved by the Social Security Board.

June 8, 1936 B.F. Ashe was appointed the Regional Director, Region VII (Birmingham).

Early June, 1936 John G. Winant, Chairman of the Social Security Board, attended the International Labor Organization Conference as a U.S. Government Labor Organization delegate and as vice-president of the Conference itself.

June 15, 1936 Henry McCarthy was appointed the Regional Director (Chicago).

June 30, 1936 Thirty-six States and the District of Columbia, in cooperation with the Bureau of Public Assistance, had developed public assistance plans which met Federal requirements, and were receiving Federal grants-in-aid to help finance one or more of the three types of public assistance included in the Social Security Act.

August 17, 1936 An unemployed worker–Neils B. Ruud–in Madison, Wisconsin, received the first unemployment benefit check paid under a State law. The amount was $15.00.

August 1936 Publication of the Social Security Journal, Selected Current Statistics, began on a monthly basis.

September 2, 1936 Henry P. Seidemann was named to succeed Murray W. Latimer as Director, Bureau of Federal Old-Age Benefits, and took office on September 4.

September 12, 1936 The Office of Coordinator of the Board was discontinued. His duties to supervise the field activities of the Bureau of Federal Old-Age Benefits and the Bureau of Auditing and Accounts, were transferred to the Office of the Executive Director.

September 15, 1936 The Washington State Unemployment Compensation Law was declared unconstitutional by the State Supreme Court.

September 25, 1936 The Post Office agreed to help with enumeration for old-age benefits. (Henry P. Seidemann said this was agreed to on September 15.)

September 27, 1936 In his presidential campaign, Governor Alfred M. Landon denounced the old-age insurance system. He spoke of Social Security as being a “cruel hoax.”

September 28-30, 1936 The International Conference of National Unions of Mutual Benefit Societies, etc., became the International Social Insurance Conference in Prague, Czechoslovakia.

September 30, 1936 John G. Winant resigned as a member and Chairman of the Social Security Board as a protest against the Republican attacks on the Social Security Act. (On the 28th he tendered his resignation; on the 30th President Roosevelt accepted it.)

October 14, 1936 The first field office was opened at Austin, Texas.

October 19, 1936 The first training course (10 days) was conducted in Baltimore, Md.

October 27, 1936 The Interdepartmental Committee to Coordinate Health and Welfare Activities was formally established by Executive Order No. 7481.

October 31, 1936 The Bureau of Federal Old-Age Benefits moved from 1712 G Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. to 1724 F Street, N.W., Washington, D.C.

November 4, 1936 Seven more Social Security Board field offices, mostly in larger cities, were opened.

November 5, 1936 The Department of the Treasury’s Decision 4704 was approved, providing the authority both for the assignment of Social Security identification numbers to employers and account numbers to employees.

November 9, 1936 The establishment of 57 additional field offices, primarily for the administration of old-age benefits, was announced. The Baltimore office for record-keeping operations was opened with 18 persons. By the end of the month there were 991 employees.

November 16, 1936 John G. Winant accepted a temporary reappointment as Chairman of the Social Security Board.

November 16, 1936 Approximately three million employer applications (Form SS-4) were distributed to employers around the country and by November 24, 1936, the larger portion of the employer forms were returned.

November 23, 1936 The United States Supreme Court upheld, in a 4-to-4 decision, the constitutionality of the New York State Unemployment Insurance Law.

November 24, 1936 Applications for Social Security account numbers (Forms SS-5) were distributed by the Post Office Department to persons who were working or expected to work in jobs covered by old-age insurance.

November 1936 All States, the District of Columbia, Alaska and Hawaii were actively participating in the program of maternal and child health services under the Social Security Act.

December 1, 1936 On Tuesday, December 1, 1936, the Baltimore office added a night shift which went on duty at 4:00 p.m. and stopped work at 11:30 p.m. The daytime work shift was 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., plus four hours on Saturdays. The total work week was 39 hours.

December 7, 1936 Judge George C. Sweeney of Massachusetts upheld the right of Congress to levy a payroll tax on employers–Title IX of the Social Security Act.

December 15, 1936 A three-judge Federal Court in Alabama granted a permanent injunction restraining the State from collecting the tax provided by the State Unemployment Compensation law.

January 1, 1937 Workers began to acquire credits toward old-age insurance benefits. Employers and employees became subject to a tax of one percent of wages on up to $3,000 a year. Lump-sum payments were first made payable to eligible workers, their survivors or their estates. The Federal unemployment tax payable by employers of 8 or more was increased to two percent of payroll.

January 14, 1937 Judge David J. Davis of Alabama upheld the right of Congress to levy a payroll tax on employers–Title IX of the Social Security Act.

January 21, 1937 The Department of the Treasury granted a 60-day extension of time for first quarterly payment of payroll taxes under Title IX of the Social Security Act.

February 1, 1937 Judge Learned Hand filed the opinion of the Second Circuit in the case of Theberge vs. United States. The case involved an action on a war risk insurance policy under which the claimant had the burden of proving that he was permanently and totally disabled when he was mustered out of the service and that any work in which he was engaged, subsequent to the lapse of the policy, substantially aggravated his malady. The opinion (no insurance against suffering) became the initial approach of Social Security to “pain” cases.

February 5, 1937 The House passed the Appropriation Bill for “independent” offices (for fiscal year 1937-1938); this included $254,000,000 for the Social Security Board.

February 1937 Early February 1937 Walter Hamilton left the position of Director of the Bureau of Research and Statistics. He was replaced by Ewing Clague.

February 8, 1937 The First Annual Report of the Social Security Board submitted to Congress.

February 10, 1937 Enactment of New York Social Security Bill made all provisions of Federal Act effective in New York.

February 12, 1937 Four new field offices of the Social Security Board were opened.

February 19, 1937 President Roosevelt accepted the final resignation of John G. Winant from the Social Security Board and appointed Arthur J. Altmeyer as the new Chairman. Murray W. Latimer was nominated as the third member of the Social Security Board to fill the vacancy created by Mr. Winant’s resignation.

February 22, 1937 The Senate Finance Committee ordered a study of whether the accumulation of reserves for old-age benefits was necessary and recommended the establishment of an Advisory Council to study the problems and report to the Senate Finance Committee and the Social Security Board.

February 27, 1937 The first claims under Title II of the Social Security Act were adjudicated and forwarded to the Social Security Board on February 27. The first claims were actually paid in March.

March 1, 1937 Leroy Hodges became the Director of the Bureau of Federal Old-Age Benefits. He succeeded Henry P. Seidemann who resigned on February 28, 1937.

March 11, 1937 The Social Security Board announced approval of eight lump-sum payments since the inauguration of the Social Security Act’s old-age benefits program began on January 1.

March 16, 1937 The twenty-five millionth old-age benefit Master Name Card was entered in the files of the Social Security Board.

March 19, 1937 The Social Security Board held a conference with its twelve Regional Directors in Washington.

March 30, 1937 The Social Security Board, through the Bureau of Unemployment Compensation, the Department of labor and the United States Employment Service, agreed to act as a single agency in all matters affecting a State employment service.

April 12, 1937 The Wagner Labor Act was declared constitutional by the Supreme Court.

April 26, 1937 The Supreme Court agreed to review the Massachusetts case involving the payment of taxes under Title VIII of the Social Security Act.

April 26, 1937 President Roosevelt withdrew from the Senate the name of Murray W. Latimer to be a member of the Social Security Board, at Mr. Latimer’s request.

April 27, 1937 The Social Security Board authorized, as an aid to State administration of unemployment compensation laws, the assignment of Social Security account numbers to employees 65 years of age and over who were covered by the State unemployment compensation laws but were not covered under Title II.

April 30, 1937 Twelve new Bureau of Old-Age Benefits field offices opened during April, bringing the total number of field offices to 123.

April 1937 The Social Security Board abandoned the District Office/Branch Office plan of organization and designated all sub-regional offices as field offices.

May 10, 1937 The Social Security Board joined with a Special Committee on Social Security of the Senate Finance Committee in the appointment of an Advisory Council on Social Security. It consisted of representatives of labor and employers’ organizations, as well as actuaries and economists, to advise and report specifically on the old-age benefits program and its extension to survivors of insured workers and to groups now excluded.

May 24, 1937 In three decisions, the Supreme Court validated the unemployment insurance provisions of the Social Security Act and ruled old-age pensions were constitutional, (301 U.S. 495, 548, 619) in Steward Machine Company v. Davis; Helvering v. Davis; and Carmichael v. Southern Coal Company.

June 15, 1937 The Social Security Board adopted its first regulation, Regulation No. 1, which governed disclosure of the records being created in the Social Security program. The Reg. was published in the Federal Register the following day and it governed SSA’s philosophy of confidentiality for the next 40 years.

June 24, 1937 The Railroad Retirement Act of 1937, which amended portions of the 1935 Act, was approved by the President.

June 29, 1937 The President approved the Carriers Taxing Act of 1937, which repealed the Act of August 1935. The Act provided for income taxes on railroad employees and employee representatives and for excise taxes on carriers.

June 30, 1937 Unemployment insurance legislation became nationwide with approved laws in all States. Illinois was the last State to pass such legislation.

July 1, 1937 The Social Security Board field offices, of which 173 had been established, relieved the Post Office Department of the task of assigning employee account numbers.

July 1, 1937 The President sent to the Senate nominations for 52 positions with the Social Security Board which required Senate confirmation.

August 3, 1937 Employment service expansion to meet the needs of the unemployment compensation program was furthered by the first grant approved under the Social Security Act to West Virginia.

August 6, 1937 The Senate confirmed the appointment of George E. Bigge of Rhode Island to fill the vacancy in the membership of the Social Security Board which had existed since John G. Winant’s resignation. Bigge’s appointment was for a term ending August 13, 1941.

August 7, 1937 The Senate confirmed the last of the 52 nominees for Social Security Board for experts and attorney positions paying $5,000 or more a year.

August 18, 1937 The appointment of Mary W. Dewson of New York to the Social Security Board was confirmed. She took the place formerly held by Vincent M. Miles of Arkansas, whose term of office had expired. Her appointment was to expire on August 13, 1943.

August 24, 1937 The Unemployment Compensation appropriation, authorized to pay into unemployment trust funds of 15 jurisdictions amounts representing credit offset to which employers would have been entitled if these jurisdictions had had unemployment compensation laws, was approved by the Social Security Board on December 31, 1936.

September 8, 1937 The Social Security Board authorized allotment of $4,000 for September to the Department of Commerce to assist the Bureau of the Census in financing the searching and furnishing of proof of age to persons desiring this information.

September 17, 1937 The name “Old-Age Benefit Program”, which was provided for under Title II of the Social Security Act was changed to “Old-Age Insurance Program” to distinguish it from old-age benefits under the assistance program. The Bureau of Federal Old-Age Benefits became the Bureau of Old-Age Insurance.

November 5,6, 1937 The Social Security Advisory Council held its first meeting in Washington, D.C. The Council appointed an interim committee to discuss its activities with the Senate Special Committee on Social Security and with the Social Security Board.

December 16, 1937 President Roosevelt recommended a series of technical amendments to the Social Security Act.

1937 The Technical Committee on Medical Care was established under the interdepartmental Committee to Coordinate Health and Welfare Activities. The Technical Committee was composed of staff members of the Children’s Bureau, U.S. Public Health Service, and the Social Security Board.

1938 The Baltimore Federal Credit Union was chartered.

January 1, 1938 The Federal unemployment tax payable by employers of eight or more employees was increased to three percent of payroll. Unemployment benefits first became payable in 22 States.

February 1938 The report of the Technical Committee on Medical Care, “A National Health Program: A Summary,” was published.

March 1, 1938 John J. Corson was named Acting Director of the Bureau of Old-Age Insurance. He succeeded Leroy Hodges, who resigned as of February 28, 1938.

March 2, 1938 Public Assistance grants to Oklahoma were suspended by the Social Security Board on the ground that administration of Oklahoma’s State programs failed to comply with requirements of the Social Security Act as well as Oklahoma law.

April 20, 1938 The Special Senate Committee to Investigate Unemployment and Relief recommended the transfer of the United States Employment Service from the Department of Labor to the Social Security Board.

May 27, 1938 Public Assistance grants to Oklahoma were resumed, effective as of April 1.

June 25, 1938 The Fair Labor Standards Act was enacted. It provided for minimum wages, child labor standards, and time and one-half for hours over 40 in a workweek, for workers coming under interstate commerce.

June 25, 1938 The Crosser-Wheeler Act was enacted. It was to become effective July 1, 1939. State unemployment compensation agencies were to transfer to the Railroad Retirement Board the benefit rights and contributions for workers covered by the Railroad Insurance Act.

June 29, 1938 The Wagner-Peyser Act was amended to specify that the annual Federal appropriation there under designate the amount to be apportioned among State employment systems.

July 1, 1938 John J. Corson was named Director, Bureau of Old-Age Insurance.

July 18-20, 1938 The National Health Conference was held in Washington under the auspices of the Interdepartmental Committee to Coordinate Health and Welfare Activities, to bring the problems of national health and certain recommendations for a national health program before professional groups and the public.

August 30, 1938 Frank Bane resigned as Executive Director of the Social Security Board, effective November 1st Oscar M. Powell was appointed his successor.

September 14, 1938 New Zealand passed the first act to protect an entire population by a complete set of cash benefits, financed by a universal income tax.

September 16-17, 1938 At a special meeting, the American Medical Association’s House of Delegates approved in principle tax-supported medicine for indigent and voluntary health insurance for those above the level of indigence.

September 29, 1938 Public Assistance grants to Ohio for old-age assistance were discontinued by the Social Security Board on the grounds that Ohio’s administration of the program was not in conformity with requirements of the Social Security Act.

September 1938 All 51 jurisdictions were making old age assistance payments under the Social Security Act.

November 8, 1938 An initiative measure narrowly defining the term “labor dispute” for purposes of all State statutes, thereby raising serious questions of conformity with Title IX of the Social Security Act, which specified that a State may not be certified by the Social Security Board for tax credit purposes if benefits are denied an individual who refuses to accept a position vacant by reason of a labor dispute.

November 30, 1938 Public Assistance grants to Ohio for old-age assistance were resumed, retroactive to November 1, 1938, on evidence that State operation of the program had been brought into conformity with requirements of the Social Security Act.

November 1938 Robert Barnett was named to head the Bureau of Business Management, within the Social Security Board.

December 10, 1938 The Advisory Council on Social Security issued its report and recommendations on old-age insurance.

December 30, 1938 Ellen S. Woodward took the oath of office as a member of the Social Security Board; she succeeded Mary W. Dewson who resigned December 10, 1938.

January 1, 1939 Unemployment benefits became payable in 26 additional States, bringing the total number of jurisdictions paying to 49.

January 14, 1939 Amendments to the Social Security Act were recommended in a report of the Special Senate Committee to Investigate Unemployment and Relief.

January 16, 1939 The Social Security Board’s report, “Proposed Changes in the Social Security Act,” was transmitted by the President to Congress along with his message on Social Security.

January 23, 1939 A Health Security Message of the President was transmitted to Congress, the report and recommendations of the Interdepartmental Committee to Coordinate Health and Welfare Activities.

February 1, 1939 Public hearings on the Social Security act amendments were conducted by the Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representatives.

February 10, 1939 Tax Titles (VIII and IX, except Section 904) of the Social Security Act were repealed and reenacted as Chapter 9, Subchapters A and C (subsequently designated as Federal Insurance Contributions Act and Federal Unemployment Tax Act of the Internal Revenue Code.

February 28, 1939 Senator Robert Wagner introduced S.1620 to create the National Health Act of 1939. A national compulsory health insurance for almost all employees and their dependents was proposed by this bill. Benefits were to include physician’s services, hospitalization, drugs, and laboratory diagnostic services. Costs were to be covered through employer and employee contributions which were to have been deposited in a health insurance fund. The plan was to be administered through the States. No final action was taken on the bill–although hearings were held April 29-July 13. The bill died in committee.

February 1939 The American Medical Association established a “National Physicians” Committee for the Extension of Medical Services, to fight the Wagner Bill.

March 24, 1939 All States, the District of Columbia, Alaska, and Hawaii were actively participating in the program of crippled children’s services under the Social Security Act.

April 4, 1939 Public hearings on the Social Security act amendments were conducted by the Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representatives.

April 19, 1939 The Unemployment Compensation Amendment authorizing the annual appropriation of $80 million for grants to States for unemployment compensation administration was approved by the President

April 25, 1939 The President’s Reorganization Plan No. 1 was transmitted to Congress.

June 7, 1939 The Federal Reorganization Act of 1939 was approved by the President.

June 10, 1939 The Social Security Act Amendments of 1939 passed by the House of Representatives with minor changes. The vote was 364 to 2.

June 30, 1939 Joseph L. Fay was named the Assistant Director of the Division of Accounting Operations, Bureau of Old-age and Survivors Insurance.

July 1, 1939 Benefit payment operations were inaugurated under the Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act. The coverage of railroad employment of an interstate character under State unemployment compensation laws was terminated, and compensation for railroad unemployment occurring henceforth would be administered by the Railroad Retirement Board.

July 1, 1939 The Federal Reorganization Act of 1939 became effective. Under this act, the Social Security Board was made part of the newly established Federal Security Agency. The United States Employment Service was transferred from the Department of Labor to the Social Security Board, consolidating the Employment Service with the unemployment compensation functions of the Social Security Board to become the Bureau of Employment Security. In the Federal Security Agency, the Social Security Board, the Public Health Service, the Civilian Conservation Corps, the National Youth Administration, and the Office of Education were integrated into one administrative unit.

July 1, 1939 With the initiation of benefits in Illinois and Montana, unemployment benefits became payable in all 51 jurisdictions.

July 12, 1939 The appointment of the first Federal Security Administrator, Paul V. McNutt, was confirmed by the Senate. McNutt took the oath of office on July 13, 1939.

July 27, 1939 Unemployment benefits were suspended in South Dakota. The State’s employment service offices were closed because the State legislature failed to appropriate the necessary amount of State funds for their operation.

August 3,1939 Arthur J. Altmeyer was reappointed for a six-year term as the Chairman of the Social Security Board.

August 5, 1939 The Social Security Act Amendments of 1939 accepted by the Senate after the amendments in disagreement had been reconciled in conference and accepted by the House of Representatives on August 4.

August 10, 1939 The President signed the Social Security Amendments of 1939. The program was broadened to include dependents and survivors’ benefits. Payment of monthly benefits was advanced to 1940.

August 11, 1939 The Chairman of the Social Security Board was appointed to membership on the Committee on Economic Security by the President.

August 11,1939 The Hurricane Work Exclusion Act was approved. It amended Title II of the Social Security Act. The act exempted from Federal insurance benefits and from the Federal Unemployment Tax Act and the Federal Insurance Contributions Act, services rendered prior to January 1, 1940, in the employ of an owner or tenant of land in salvaging timber or clearing brush and debris left by hurricanes.

August 13,1939 Amendments to the Railroad Unemployment Insurance and the Railroad Retirement Acts and related legislation were approved. These brought about a more uniform coverage under social insurance measures for persons employed in certain types of coal mining operations which had previously been defined as constituting railroad employment.

September 1939 The functions and personnel of the Office of the General Counsel were transferred to the Federal Security Agency.

September 6, 1939 The Bureau of Old-Age Insurance became the Bureau of Old-Age and Survivors Insurance.

September 27, 1939 Unemployment benefit payments were resumed in South Dakota with the reopening of public employment offices.

1939 The first Statewide prepayment plans for physician’s services were established by the State medical societies of California and Michigan.

Source: Social Security Administration: http://www.ssa.gov/history/chrono.html

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