Social Security at 80: The Hallmark of America’s Social Infrastructure Still Providing Vital Protection for the American People

The National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives (NOSSCR) is honoring Social Security’s landmark 80th birthday tomorrow by urging lawmakers and all Americans to support and strengthen this essential program.

Intended to provide “some measure of protection to the average citizen and to his family against the loss of a job and against poverty-ridden old age,” the program was signed into law by President Roosevelt in 1935 and has served our nation’s workers well ever since. Disability Insurance protection was added to Social Security in 1956, and has protected beneficiaries from extreme poverty through a modest level of support for those with serious illnesses or disabilities, who are no longer able to support themselves through work. 

“The Social Security program, including the disability component, is an important public structure that needs to be protected and preserved for future generations,” said Barbara Silverstone, Executive Director of NOSSCR. “Congress needs to ensure that beneficiaries who depend on this program for vital financial support are immune from harmful cuts and policies based on politics, rather than the long-term best interests of American workers. 

Those who rely on insurance coverage from SSDI are no longer able to support themselves through work due to serious disabilities. To qualify, people must prove through extensive medical documentation that they meet the strict eligibility requirements. Average insurance coverage is modest – often replacing less than half of pre-disability earnings – but provides enough protection to help prevent serious financial burdens or cover daily living costs.

“Social Security has served as one of our nation’s hallmark social insurance programs for eight decades and instead of criticizing the program and its key components, including Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income, let’s come together to protect it and urge Congress to strengthen it in the years to come,” continued Silverstone.

To speak with a NOSSCR spokesperson about Social Security Disability Insurance benefits, contact Lauren Weybrew at or 646-214-0514.

NOSSCR, a specialized bar association for attorneys and other advocates who represent people with disabilities, has been a pioneer in legal continuing education and public policy advocacy since 1979. Our members represent Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income claimants through the adjudication process, advocating for the income rights of people with disabilities.


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