Sunday, January 31, 2010

Who in the World was Ida May Fuller?

I think I would be stating the obvious if I said that the American economy is struggling right now. Many Americans are bearing tough financial burdens, especially retired men and women. One of the revenue streams that retired people, and others rely on is social security. Social security was enacted by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt as part of his New Deal policies in 1935. The hardship faced by Americans today still doesn’t compare to the absolute devastation of the Great Depression, which inspired many New Deal programs.

On January 31, 1940 the first social security check was issued to Ida May Fuller. Ida May Fuller was born in 1874 in Vermont where she spent the majority of her life.   She filed a claim for monthly social security support on November 4, 1939. Most social security is funded by payroll taxes, and Ida May worked for three years contributing to social security. After retiring, Ida May visited her local social security office to see about possible benefits. As Ida May recalled, “It wasn’t that I expected anything, mind you, but I knew that I’d been paying for something called Social Security and I wanted to ask the people in Rutland about it.”

Her information was forwarded to Washington with the first batch of monthly check recipients to be issued a social security payment. She received a check for $22.54, which in today’s money would be about $342.46. Social Security continues to be a hot button issue in American politics. How will we pay for it? Will it still exist in a hundred years? Only time can tell.

[Image via Wikimedia]

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