Social security is a federal program providing income-security that originated in 1935 under President Roosevelt's New Deal; at the time, it was designed to serve as a safety net for financial victims of the Great Depression, and has subsequently continued to generate a monthly income for many retired people, the disabled, widows/widowers, and other groups. The objective is to provide a fiscal cushion and reward for the elderly who have contributed to American society over a period of time through their former employment.
An example of social security is the retirement program. This is a 'pay as you go' set-up in which the current workforce pays social security taxes that are then siphoned off to provide a monthly income for retired, qualified workers over the age of 65 or 66. Retirees receive individualized amounts in proportion to the income they earned while they were active in the workforce; higher earnings yield higher benefits. In addition, people must work for a minimum of ten years before qualifying for social security benefits.