Security for the Aged

August 12, 1948

Report Outline
Plight of the Aged in Price Inflation
Government Action to Relieve Old Age Insecurity
Supplements to Public Security Aids

Plight of the Aged in Price Inflation

Since the end of the war Congress has been under mounting pressure to liberalize and extend the old-age protections of the Social Security Act. Living conditions of old persons dependent on social insurance payments have been reduced to a critical state by rising prices, for which the system makes no allowance, and millions lack even the meager assistance which the insurance benefits afford, owing to statutory limitations of coverage.

President Truman told Congress in a special message May 24 that many old people “have just about reached the breaking point” and urged immediate action to raise social security payments and extend coverage in line with recommendations of the Social Security Administration. Similar proposals had been made, Apr. 8, in the first of a series of scheduled reports by the Senate Finance Committee's Advisory Council on Social Security. However, the only new aid received by the aged as a result of action at the regular session was a small increase in federal contributions to old-age assistance (relief).

Positions of the Parties on Old Age Security

In his message of July 27 to the special session of Congress, the President urged that the present “utterly inadequate” benefits under the retirement system be increased by at least 50 per cent, that the protections of the system be extended to the millions not now covered, that the retirement age for women be reduced from 65 to 60 years. These recommendations were identical with pledges contained in the platform adopted July 14 by the Democratic National Convention at Philadelphia. The Republican platform, adopted June 22, had been less specific: “We urge extension of the federal old-age insurance program and increase of the benefits to a more realistic level.”

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
Aging Issues
Retirement, Pensions, and Social Security