II. History (Background)

The Social Security Act of 1935 was a landmark legislation enacted in an extremely short period of time. The bill was drafted fourteen months after President Roosevelt first indicated interest in a policy to provide security for the elderly and disabled. The entire legislative process took only seven months--from January 17 to August 14, 1935--a remarkable achievement for such a broad and innovative creation. The completed Act consisted of only thirty-two pages; its eleven titles encompassed eleven wide-ranging programs emanating from very different sources.” The Act was intended to accomplish several goals. Specifically, the Act sought to provide for the general welfare by establishing a system of federal old-age benefits.

Additionally, the Act enabled the several States to make adequate provisions for aged persons, blind persons, dependent and crippled children, maternal and child welfare, public health, and the administration of their unemployment compensation laws. Finally, the Act established a Social Security Board, empowered Congress to *490 raise revenue, and enumerated other purposes as well. The highlight of the Act came to be known as “social security.” Its official name is the Federal Old-Age, Survivors, Disability and Hospital Insurance Program (OASDHI). Social Security has become the “largest income-maintenance program in the United States.” The program provides monthly benefits to roughly fifty-nine million Americans totaling almost $870 billion in overall benefits. “Nationally, coverage is nearly universal: About ninety-six percent of the jobs in the United States are covered. Workers finance the program through a payroll tax that is levied under the Federal Insurance and Self-Employment Contribution Acts (FICA and SECA).” Social Security is an important source of income for many Americans in retirement. Three out of five beneficiaries aged sixty-five or older depend on Social Security for at least fifty percent of their income.