Liberalization of the Social Security System

December 2, 1939

Report Outline
Drive for Expansion of Social Security System
Revision of Public Assistance Programs
Modification of Old-Age Insurance Plan
Changes in Unemployment Compensation Plans

Drive for Expansion of Social Security System

Renewed Pressure on Congress for Pension Increases

Defeat of the “ham-and-eggs” pension scheme in California and of the Bigelow old-age pension plan in Ohio at the November elections is expected to bring renewed pressure on Congress at the 1940 session for liberalization of the old-age assistance features of the Social Security Act. In spite of the defeat of the two schemes, the elections convincingly demonstrated the vote-getting possibilities of the pension issue.

Governor Olson of California, against whom proponents of the “$30 Every Thursday” pension plan have launched a recall movement, declared shortly after the elections that California should take the lead in efforts to persuade the federal government to lower the minimum age limit for federal-state old-age pensions from 65 to 60 years and to increase federal grants to make possible pension payments of $60 a month. “If this cannot be accomplished,” he said, “then we must endeavor to secure an immediate increase of the present aid given by the federal government from $20 to $80 per month, so that we might pay a pension of at least $50 per month here in California.”

Action by Congress at the next session to modify the present system of matching state old-age assistance payments was advocated, November 25, by Chairman Harrison (D., Miss.) of the Senate Finance Committee, as a means of enabling-the poorer states to pay larger pensions. Harrison reiterated his support of a plan sponsored at the last-regular session by Senator Connally (D., Tex.), under which the federal government would make grants on a sliding scale, paying two-thirds of the cost of $15 pensions and one-half of additional payments up to a maximum of $40 a month. Republican support for proposals to increase federal pension grants was foreshadowed by the statement of John D. M. Hamilton, chairman of the Republican National Committee, shortly after the November elections, that “we should not now dismiss as solved the problems created by aged persons in distress. Their plight merits our careful consideration and demands that renewed efforts be made for a sane and sound old-age pension program.”

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Social Security
Sep. 10, 2021  Social Security
Jun. 03, 2016  Social Security
Sep. 24, 2004  Social Security Reform
Oct. 02, 1998  Saving Social Security
May 12, 1995  Overhauling Social Security
Apr. 05, 1991  Social Security: The Search for Fairness
Dec. 17, 1982  Social Security Options
Jun. 29, 1979  Social Security Reassessment
Dec. 27, 1974  Retirement Security
Sep. 20, 1972  Social Security Financing
Dec. 14, 1966  Social Security Improvements
Mar. 28, 1956  Social Security for the Disabled
Mar. 26, 1953  Social Security Expansion
Aug. 17, 1951  Relief Rolls in Prosperity
Dec. 24, 1949  Pensions for All
Aug. 12, 1948  Security for the Aged
Apr. 11, 1946  Social Insurance
Mar. 02, 1944  Social Security
Dec. 02, 1939  Liberalization of the Social Security System
Oct. 01, 1938  Agitation for Pension and Scrip Schemes
Jul. 26, 1938  Revision of the Social Security Act
Oct. 02, 1936  The Social Security Controversy
Nov. 12, 1934  Federal Assistance to the Aged
Aug. 23, 1930  Public Old-Age Pensions
Retirement, Pensions, and Social Security
Social Security