The History of Social Security Part 1: Civil War Pensions

history of Social Security

The origins of Social Security can be traced back to the earliest economic systems. Providing for vulnerable citizens has always been a part of civilization, though it has taken different forms. The history of Social Security in America has clear roots in the Civil War era, when a pension for widows, orphans, and disabled veterans was first established. In the aftermath of the Civil War, as America rebuilt, these pensions provided a necessary source of financial security for vulnerable Americans

According to the Social Security Administration, these pensions were expanded in 1906. At that point, the program covered “old-age” benefits and provided for any Civil War veteran and their survivors. This meant that by 1910, more than 90 percent of Civil War veterans received government benefits.

These military pensions, while valuable, did not offer support to the general population. A new program was needed.

Stay tuned for part 2, on the rise of company pensions, next Friday.

The Seniors Center provides resources to seniors to help them navigate Social Security, and we’re also calling on Congress to pass legislation protecting the future of this important program. Learn more about our mission and follow us on Twitter and Facebook today to learn more about the history of Social Security!