Social Security and Medicare
March 31, 2012
Hopefully we will all be physically able to work until the age of 65, collect retirement and Social Security and live an enriching life until we leave this world. Not all companies financially support their employees with fully funded retirement plans so it is left up to the individual to actively participate in saving for their future. When someone reaches retirement age, if the finances are there, they are usually only a fraction of what they were making as a full-time employee. This is when one hopes of having Social Security and Medicare benefits to supplement our ...view middle of the document...
Over the years there have been several revisions made to the Social Security Act. The first being the 1939 Amendments that added dependent’s benefits and survivor benefits. The distribution was changed to monthly and benefits had increased so that the elderly with retirement benefits would receive more than the elderly receiving welfare benefits. (www.ssa.gov/history)
The 1950 Amendments added a first time COLA benefit. The disability insurance program began with the 1954 Amendments and changed with the 1956 Amendments to coverage for disability to workers aged 50-64 and disabled adult children. One more change to the disability benefits occurred in 1960 removing the age restriction to disability benefits. The 1961 Amendments reduced the age for collecting social security to workers aged 62 and older. If collected at age 62, there was a benefit reduction for collecting early. One of the major changes to occur with the Social Security program was the Amendment of 1965 with the introduction of Medicare, which enabled health coverage for almost all Americans aged 65 or older. (www.ssa.gov/history)
Supplemental Security Income program for the poor and annual COLA’s were introduced with the Amendments of 1972. Maintaining a financially secure Social Security program was addressed with the 1977 Amendments when payroll tax deductions were changed from 6.45% to 7.45% and the wage base of workers increased. Further addressing the needs of the financial stability of the Social Security program was the introduction of the 1983 Amendments in which Social Security benefits were to be taxed, federal employees could now be covered under the program and in preparation for future generations, the retirement age was increased to 67 years old. (www.ssa.gov/history)
Provisions were made to the disability program with the introduction of the 1996 Amendments in which individuals could not collect disability payments if they were considered disabled due to drug addiction or alcoholism. New programs were provided to enable disabled beneficiaries to obtain services to enable them to lead a more productive life with the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act of 1999. The hopes were with enhanced programs, the disabled would be able to return to the workforce. With the introduction of the Senior Citizens’ Freedom to Work Act of 2000, retirement age individuals were able to continue to work at their full retirement age and still receive benefits. The Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003 added the voluntary prescription drug program under the Medicare program. With the No Social Security Benefits for Prisoners Act of 2009, prisoners were prohibited from collecting social security benefits while they were in prison or in violation of parole or probation. The most recent change enacted to the Social Security program was the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010. This...