On August 14, 1933, U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act. One of the few New Deal programs still enforced today, Social Security was meant to prevent widespread poverty among older adults, people with disabilities, and unemployed Americans.

Social Security is funded by payroll taxes. This means that almost all income and wages have a tax (usually called the Federal Insurance Contributions Act, or FICA) that goes into the Social Security Trust Fund. This fund provides assistance, such as supplemental income or medical care, to beneficiaries. Almost all Americans have a Social Security Number that tracks their contributions to the program over the course of their lifetime.

assistance
Noun

help or aid.

contribution
Noun

resource donated to a cause.

income
Noun

wages, salary, or amount of money earned.

New Deal
Noun

(1933-1938) series of U.S. government programs intended to provide economic "relief, recovery, and reform" to Americans during the Great Depression.

poverty
Noun

status of having very little money or material goods.

prevent
Verb

to keep something from happening.

supplemental
Adjective

additional.

tax
Noun

money or goods citizens provide to government in return for public services such as military protection.

widespread
Adjective

affecting a large area or community.

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