Policy Advocacy and Healthcare Ethics

Discussion 3 2

Chapter 25 examines implications on the impact of Social Security, in particular to the financial security of women. How has Social Security developed as a policy? In addition, how has retirement come to be an institution in American society? Lastly, how might retirement and its related policies change in the future given our current aging demographics? Please support your claims with the use of research studies, reports, and/or reliable electronic sources.

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Policy Advocacy and Healthcare Ethics

Discussion 3 2

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How Social Security has developed as a policy

The Social Security program protects individual workers and their dependents against loss of earnings in the events of retirement, disability, or death. According to Sarenski (2020), the Social Security Act was enacted on August 14, 1935, to provide old-age benefits for eligible employees, unemployment insurance benefits, assistance for industrial accidents victims, and aid for dependent children and mothers, the physically handicapped, and the blind.

Before the 1930s, support for the elderly was usually the obligation of the older individual’s family rather than the responsibility of the federal government, except for veterans’ pension.  However, the Great Depression caused economic turmoil making congress pass the Social Security Act as a national old-age insurance system.  The Social security Act has undergone twelve major legislative amendments. The changes have majorly added workers subject to withholding of Social Security tax on wages, changed the number of wages subject to Social Security withholding, and increased the age of eligibility (Sarenski, 2020).

How retirement has come to be an institution in American society

Although retirement has been in existence for the privileged working groups for some time, it was only during the 20th century that it steadily became a widespread social institution that shapes the life course of the majority of individuals. According to Morgan and Kunkel(2020),  Social Security has been influential in assisting to institutionalize promote retirement in two ways: making retirement socially legitimate as a transition and stage of the life cycle and enabling persons to retire by offering benefits that are a reliable source of income to the huge majority of workers in America. In the past, disincentives, notably the earnings test, were used to disincentive continued employment, where earnings of workers above sixty-five years were taxed to recover some of the Social security benefit dollars.

How retirement and its related policies might change in the future given our current aging demographics

The Social Security system will face financial challenges in the future due to demographic changes. The retirement of baby boomers represents a transition to a permanently older population. Lower rates of fertility after the baby boomers along with longer life expectancies than in the past will continue to increase the ratio of the elderly to working-age Americans over the coming three decades.  Over the next three decades, Social security outlays will rise by nearly thirty percent, from 4.9 percent in 2017 to 6.3 percent in 207 and this rise is driven by population aging (Sheiner, 2018).


Morgan, L. A., &  Kunkel, S. R.  (2011). Aging, Society, and the Life Course, Fourth Edition. Springer Publishing Company.

Sarenski, T. J. (2020). Social Security and Medicare: Maximizing Retirement Benefits. John Wiley & Sons.

Sheiner, L.  (2018). The Long-term Impact of Aging on the Federal Budget. Hutchins Center Working Paper #40. https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/wp405.pdf