This chapter provides a backdrop to our current social security program and an overview of some models for social security programs in Europe and Canada. It explores the genesis of the social program in the United States. The chapter also explores contents of the original social security act (SSA) and compares the titles and programs mandated through the current SSA. It offers some guidelines for the current administration of the program, examines the debate around current proposals for revision, and reviews why these proposals are current issues for consideration. The chapter then presents the current social security system, which provides for older adults, but has also grown to cover dependent women and children. Although many people have argued for their vision to privatize the system, the reality is that there is much more political support to maintain the program as a safety net program rather than a means-tested program.
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Social, Political, Economic, and Demographic Factors and Historical Landmarks Impacting Aging and Disability Public Policy
This chapter helps the reader to be familiar with the demographic and social factors that influence and shape aging and disability policy over time and to be aware of policy changes over the past century within disability and aging public policy. It explains the contrast between advances in science and technology and public policy related to people growing older and people with disabilities. Landmarks serve as essential tools to help us recall specific historical events in time. Historical landmarks, science, and technology have played significant roles in the evolution of social policies; however, aging and disability policies may not have made as many strides as other areas throughout history. The chapter briefly discusses: the role of historical landmarks in shaping social trends and public policies; the relationship between historical landmarks and aging and disability-related policies; and trends in policy, social, and political influences and landmarks in the United States.