The History of Social Security Part 5: Monthly Payments and Amendments

Monthly social security payments

If you’re just joining our series on the history of Social Security, we invite you to take a look at parts 1, 2, 3, and 4 today!

Just a few short years after the program’s start, the first monthly Social Security payments began.

The First Monthly Social Security Payments

In 1940, the first monthly payment was made to Ida May Fuller of Ludlow, Vermont. Ms. Fuller paid into the Social Security system for three years before she retired. Her first benefit check was for $22.54. During her lifetime, Ms. Fuller received a total of $24,000 in benefits. She lived to be 100 and collected benefits for 35 years.

Early Amendments to the Social Security Act

Many amendments to the Social Security Act have been made since it was first enacted in 1935. Some of these amendments increased benefits, expanded coverage, and improved the financing of the program. However, other amendments responded to changes in our economy and our society.

In 1939, Congress passed the first amendments to the Social Security Act. The most important of these amendments increased benefits and extended coverage to about 10 million additional workers and their families.

Later amendments in 1950 increased benefits by more than 50 percent. This amendment also established a program of disability insurance for workers and their dependents.

The next major amendments were made in 1954. These amendments extended coverage to about 4 million more people and increased benefits by another 50 percent.

A series of amendments in the 1960s improved benefits for widows, disabled workers, and families with dependent children. The Social Security Amendments of 1965 established two new programs: Medicare, a hospital insurance program for the aged and disabled, and Medicaid, a medical assistance program for low-income families.

The Seniors Center: Looking to the Future of Social Security

At The Seniors Center, we are always looking to the future of Social Security. We believe that it’s important for seniors to have a voice in the discussion about the program’s future. Adding your name to our petition to pass the Social Security Lock-Box Act can make a difference. And follow us on Twitter and Facebook for more updates!