Ohio resident A.E. Bosley wrote this letter to Representative Dow Harter
of Ohio on March 5, 1935, regarding the proposed social security legislation in the House. Mr. Bosley endorsed an “Old Age Pension Plan of the National Government.” The Social Security Act was considered part of the “Second New Deal” legislation, which shifted from emergency measures that propped up the economy to programs that sought to provide a long-term social safety net. Bosley’s proposal echoed ideas being considered by the government: tax employees a percentage of their wages to fund financial assistance for the needy and elderly. Bosley also wrote that all working Americans, along with persons who were entitled to benefits under the social security plan, should be assigned a unique number. This number would be used to track an individual’s employment and benefits, such as life and health insurance. The Social Security Act, signed into law by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on August 14, 1935, provided, according to the bill language, “for the general welfare by establishing a system of Federal old-age benefits, and by enabling the several States to make more adequate provision for aged persons, blind persons, dependent and crippled children, maternal and child welfare, public health, and the administration of their unemployment compensation laws.” The benefits, along with individual identification numbers, remain in place today.