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Key Moments in the History of Social Security

A look back at the evolution of this vital government program that dates back to 1935

collage of photos illustrating a few events and eras in the evolution of social security since it was signed in to law in 1935

FPG/Bradley C Bower/AP Photo/Getty

En español | Social Security was born 87 years ago this Sunday, in 1935, and over the subsequent decades it has matured into a vital source of inflation-adjusted income for retired and disabled workers, their dependents and their survivors. Today, the program pays benefits to more than 70 million Americans. Here's a timeline of significant events in the history of Social Security.

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Editor's note: This article was originally published Aug. 13, 2020. It has been updated with additional events.