What is the 'Social Security Administration (SSA)'

The Social Security Administration (SSA) is a U.S. government agency that administers social programs covering disability, retirement and survivors' benefits. It was created in 1935 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to administer the social insurance programs in the United States. Previously operating under the Department of Health and Human Services, the SSA has operated as a wholly independent agency since 1994.

BREAKING DOWN 'Social Security Administration (SSA)'

Social Security is a vital part of the retirement income planning strategy of many Americans, especially as savings rates remain low. But the breadth of services the SSA provides spans many vital areas of the U.S. social safety net. For example, the Social Security Administration provides benefits to over 50 million orphaned children, the disabled (and their spouses and children) and the aged in the amount of over $700 billion per year. Such benefits are funded with payroll taxes of employers, employees and the self-employed. The Social Security Administration administers the Social Security program, arguably one of the most successful agencies in the history of the United States government. The annual net cost of Social Security comes in at approximately $1 trillion as of 2014, or about one fifth of all government spending. By 2024, Social Security as a share of total federal spending is expected to be approximately 28%.

Unlike the majority of U.S. federal government agencies, the SSA is not headquartered in Washington, D.C. Instead, the agency is based in the city of Woodlawn, MD, which is a suburb of Baltimore. In all, the Social Security Administration has 10 regional offices, several processing centers, more than a thousand field offices in cities across the country, and over three dozen telephone service centers. It employs over 60,000 workers and frequently ranks well in government job ratings.

Social Security Administration Services

The SSA has seen numerous name changes and operational revisions in its lifetime, as different administrations have shaped the agency. The SSA provides a wide range of services, including determining citizen eligibility and premium payments for the Medicare program. It administers the granting of Social Security Numbers (SSN), which have become a de-facto national identity number that must be provided to access a number of services, such as credit, insurance coverage and even hunting licenses.

Social Security Administration: Annual Report

Every year, the Boards of Trustees of Social Security and Medicare issue a report on the current and projected financial status of the two programs. As of 2017, assuming current benefit spending and funding assumptions, Social Security and Medicare face financing shortfalls. While calculations differ, many believe that at its current rate of spending and under current demographic assumptions, the Social Security Administration's trust fund will be unable to fully fund benefits by 2037.

RELATED TERMS
  1. Social Security

    Social Security is a part of a social insurance and welfare program ...
  2. Social Security Trust Fund

    The Social Security Trust Fund refers to two accounts used by ...
  3. Social Security Number (SSN)

    A Social Security Number (SSN) is a numerical identifier assigned ...
  4. Social Security Tax

    The tax levied on both employers and employees to fund the Social ...
  5. Social Security Act

    The Social Security Act is a law enacted in 1935 to create a ...
  6. Indexed Earnings

    Indexed earnings is a calculation the Social Security Administration ...
Related Articles
  1. Retirement

    Will the Social Security Cap Increase Help It Last Longer?

    The Social Security cap increase will be 7% in 2017, but even that may not be enough to keep Social Security from running out of funds.
  2. Retirement

    What Social Security Fraud Costs You

    Taxpayers lose billions of dollars every year, according to Social Security fraud statistics. What to look for.
  3. Retirement

    Social Security Benefits for Non-U.S. Citizens

    Social Security benefits, which are confusing for U.S. citizens, can become even more confusing for resident aliens and non-resident aliens.
  4. Retirement

    How to Fix an Error on Your Social Security Check

    For many seniors, social security benefits checks are their income stream which means the benefit has to be correct. If you spot an error, you can fix it.
  5. Retirement

    How Social Security Will Change In 2015

    The average retiree’s check will rise by 1.7% in 2015, the Social Security Administration says. And the ceiling on taxable earnings will rise, as well.
  6. Retirement

    Common Questions About Social Security

    Find answers to the 10 Social Security questions that most people ask, from how to apply for benefits to how secure the system is.
  7. Retirement

    Social Security Changes to Expect in 2018

    Here are the changes to the Social Security program set to take effect on Jan. 1, 2018.
  8. Retirement

    Are Social Security Benefits a Form of Socialism?

    Socialism is a loaded word in the U.S., but Social Security, one of the nation's most popular benefit programs, is wholly government-run.
  9. Retirement

    The Facts About Social Security's Solvency

    Will Social Security really go broke in the not-so-distant future? Here are the facts.
  10. Retirement

    Will Baby Boomers Bankrupt Social Security?

    Will the massive Baby Boomer generation, now retiring in droves, bankrupt the Social Security System?
Trading Center