Social Security Administration

Social Security Administration


Social security is a federal program that encompasses social welfare and social insurance programs. It is normally referred to as the OASDI, which is, Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (Young, 2010).  It is mainly charged with the mandate of looking into the welfare of the aged in the society to ensure that they have a means of provision despite their age. It also looks into the welfare of the survivors of tragedies or calamities and individuals that suffer a loss due to the occurrence of disasters. Social security also looks into the welfare of the disabled to ensure that they have equal opportunities with other citizens to improve their livelihood.


Due to the nature of the program, a large sum of money is required so as to keep the Social security fund running. This funding comes from primarily what is called FICA, Federal Insurance Contributions Act tax. The taxes collected are channeled into four trust funds which form the Social Security trust fund. The four are the Federal Disability Insurance Trust Fund, Federal Supplementary Medical Insurance Trust Fund, Federal Hospital Insurance Fund and Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund (Daimond, Peter 2004).

Social security dates back to the 1930s when the then-president Franklin D. Roosevelt instituted a measure to curb the high rates of poverty amongst the old aged citizens during the Great Depression by implementing social insurance for them. It is also worthwhile to note that initially the social security locked out many women, but by 1950, the coverage of the fund expanded to cover women and the minority groups rather than certain occupational classes.


Breakdown of the Program

The Social security program is broken down to sub-segments to increase the efficiency of the fund. Due to the dynamic progress of the fund, the coverage has moved to be more universal and this translates to more sub-segments besides the Old-Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance.

Under the program, there exists the following under programs, Unemployment benefits where the unemployed get to receive payments form the government or other ratified bodies. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families is also covered where they get to receive payments from the state depending on the severity of their case but only for a temporary period of time. Health Insurance for the Aged and the Disabled is also known as Medicare and Grants to State for Medical Assistance Programs also known as Medicaid are also under the social security fund.

Medicare and Medicaid are geared towards supplementing the health sector and cater to the health of the citizens regardless of their social class. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is also under a program that entails the provision of a pay to supplement the low income of people who are either blind, disabled or aged which is funded from the US treasury. Finally, under the Social security trust fund, there is the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). This was instituted to cater to the uninsured children in families that do not qualify for Medicaid (Daimond, Peter 2004).

It was earlier noted that the Social security fund is funded by payroll taxes. These taxes are by workers and employers as a combined contribution which forms 12.4 percent of their earnings. The percentage is a sum of the employer’s 6.2 percent and the workers 6.2 percent per annum. It is also worthwhile to note that a self-employed person will be required to pay the total sum of 12.4 percent. However, the rate is not fixed to 6.2 percent but it varies with the average wage rate every year and in special cases, a payroll tax holiday is extended to the workers and the employers (Young, 2010).

Although the workers are required to pay the taxes there are specific cases where the workers are not required to pay taxes. If a self-employed individual who has a net annual earning less than $400 are exempted as well as wages received by students who receive stipends as they work under the state work-study programs. Income received for working as a minister is not taxed based on personal religious concerns.


The government is said to have borrowed a significant amount of the social security fund to pay other programs. This has been subject to great controversy amongst individuals and institutions. The state is said to have borrowed $2.5 trillion to pay other programs.

Social Security program has dealt with many hurdles to arrive at its present state and the future of the fund is pegged in its transparency and integrity systems which serve to reduce fraud and abuse as well as cement the pillars on which the fund is based.



Diamond, Peter A., and Peter R. Orszag. Saving Social security a balanced approach. Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press, 2004. Print.


Young, Mitchell. Social security. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2010. Print.


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