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Social Security and Demographic Trends



American workers and retirees look much different today than they did when Social Security began more than 80 years ago.  A look at some of the demographic changes – from changes in household structure and makeup to longer lifespans – that will guide policymakers in determining how to update the program moving forward.


Social Security: A Brief Overview

Social Security is a federal program designed to protect individuals and their families from loss of earnings due to retirement, disability, or death. When signed into law in 1935, Social Security covered only retired workers. However, in 1939 Social Security became a family benefit by expanding benefits to include the spouses and minor children of retired and deceased workers. In 1956, Social Security was further expanded by including benefits for disabled workers. Read

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