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History

The Social Security Act was passed into law in 1935, and the first regular monthly payments began in 1940. The first monthly retirement check went to Ida May Fuller, a former legal secretary from Ludlow, Vermont, who received her first check in the amount of $22.54 in January of 1940 and her last check in 1975 when she died at the age of one hundred years. Ida May Fuller made out pretty well under the Social Security system. The total contributions to the program on her behalf were $24.75. By the time she died, she had received $22,888.92 in benefits.

Originally, Social Security was intended to be a retirement program, but survivor’s benefits were added in 1939 and disability benefits were added in 1956. Medicare became a part of the Social Security program in 1965 with the first Medicare card going to former President Harry S. Truman, a champion of what became the Medicare program.


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