History of SSA During the Johnson Administration 1963-1968


The years 1964 through 1968 were years of tremendous progress toward greater social security for older Americans, widows and orphans, and the disabled.

The vast Medicare program was enacted and launched. Cash benefits for the retired, for widows and orphans, and for the disabled and their dependents were significantly increased. Whole new groups of people were made eligible for mnthly cash benefits.

Together, the 1965 and 1967 amendments to the social security law increased social security cash benefits by an average of about 23 percent. When Medicare is taken into account, social security benefits for people 65 and older increased in value by an average of more than 35 percent. Total benefits under the program rose from an annual rate of about $16 billion in June 1964 to an annual rate of about $30 billion in June 1968. The 1965 and 1967 amendments accounted for about 70 percent of this increase, the remainder being due to ordinary program growth. Over 2 million beneficiaries were added to the social security rolls by legislation enacted in the 5-year period.

In no other period have so many people benefitted from social security legislation. In no other period has the Social Security Administration faced--and successfully met--so many new and difficult administrative challenges.

This report was prepared to provide a factual record of the activities, the problems, and the achievements of the Social Security Administration during these exciting years.

It is hoped, and believed, that this record will be essential to those in future years who will devote themselves to the study of the development of social security in the United States.