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President Franklin Delano Roosevelt Signing the Social Security Act, August 14, 1935

On signing the act Roosevelt said, “If the Senate and the House of Representatives in this long and arduous session had done nothing more than pass this Bill, the session would be regarded as historic for all time.”

© Bettmann/CORBIS

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt Signing the Social Security Act, August 14, 1935

Providing Economic Security

Congress passed the Social Security Act in the midst of the Great Depression. It authorized taxes on workers and employers to provide for the elderly, the unemployed, dependent children and the disabled. The legislation addressed the concerns of popular grassroots movements that advocated for federal old-age pensions and relief for those without jobs.