Social Security (United States)

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In the United States, Social Security refers to the federal Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) program.[citation needed] The original Social Security Act[1] (1935) and the current version of the Act, as amended[2] encompass several social welfare and social insurance programs. The larger and better known programs are:

Social Security is a social insurance program that is funded through dedicated payroll taxes called Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA). Tax deposits are formally entrusted to the Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund, the Federal Disability Insurance Trust Fund, the Federal Hospital Insurance Trust Fund, or the Federal Supplementary Medical Insurance Trust Fund.[3]

The main part of the program is sometimes abbreviated OASDI (Old Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance) or RSDI (Retirement, Survivors, and Disability Insurance). When initially signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1935 as part of his New Deal, the term Social Security covered unemployment insurance as well. The term, in everyday speech, is used to refer only to the benefits for retirement, disability, survivorship, and death, which are the four main benefits provided by traditional private-sector pension plans. In 2004 the U.S. Social Security system paid out almost $500 billion in benefits.[4]

By dollars paid, the U.S. Social Security program is the largest government program in the world and the single greatest expenditure in the federal budget, with 20.8% for social security, compared to 20.5% for discretionary defense and 20.1% for Medicare/Medicaid.[5] Social Security is currently the largest social insurance program in the U.S., constituting 37% of government expenditure and 7% of the gross domestic product[6] and is currently estimated to keep roughly 40% of all Americans age 65 or older out of poverty.[7] The Social Security Administration is headquartered in Woodlawn, Maryland, just to the west of Baltimore.

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