Understanding the Social Security Act: The Foundation of Social Welfare for America in the Twenty-First Century

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The future of the United States' social welfare commitments, including retirement and disability payments, unemployment insurance, Medicare and Medicaid, and the State Child Health Insurance Program, poses urgent questions as social and demographic change in the country accelerates. Yet even many social welfare policy experts fail to grasp the sheer size and intricacy of the Social Security Act, which governs those commitments, and the resulting complexity of any reform efforts. In this outstanding guide to the Act's programs and policies, along with the context that shaped them, Andrew Dobelstein takes readers step by step through their maze, providing the kind of comprehensive view of the U.S. social welfare system that is essential for any would-be reformers to master. Since being signed into law in 1935, the Social Security Act has institutionalized the country's social welfare undertakings into a massive package administered by a sprawling federal agency and state-level organizations that must implement its programs. Dobelstein provides the first complete guide to every entitlement authorized by the Social Security Act, drawing on his 38 years of research, teaching, and community service to explain in accessible, straightforward writing the origins, development, and ins and outs of their practical administration. By showing how the United States' unique social welfare philosophy is reflected by the Social Security Act, this book provides a foundation for examining how its social welfare programs are bonded into a major social welfare enterprise. A fresh appraisal of the U.S. social welfare system's evolution and current situation is necessary if the country is going to use efficiently its social welfare resources going forward. Students and scholars of policy and government, as well as public servants, whose work involves the real-life implications of the Social Security Act, will find this sweeping yet detailed overview an ind

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195366891
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 4/8/2009
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 2.80 (d)

Table of Contents

Part I Overview of the Social Security Act 1

Introduction 1

Conclusion 10

1 The Social Security Act in Perspective 13

Introduction 13

The General Structure of the Social Security Act 14

I The Program and Policy Structure of the Social Security Act 15

The Program Structure of the Act 15

The Policy Structure of the Act 18

Summary of Programs and Policies 23

The Dilemma of Insurance and Assistance Implementation Policies 23

II The Social Security Act in the American Political and Ideological Context 27

Conclusion: Shifting Politics and the Social Security Act 37

Part II The Social Insurances 43

Introduction 43

2 Title II: The Program Structure of Old Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance 47

Introduction 47

The Social Security Program Structure 48

Related Retirement Instruments 63

Conclusion 66

3 Title II: The Policy Structure of Old Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance 71

Introduction 71

Financing Title II Social Security in Its Larger Economic Context 75

Financing Summary 90

Policy Issues Confronting Social Security Programs 91

Conclusion 98

4 Title III: Unemployment Insurance 101

Introduction 101

Unemployed and Unemployment Characteristics 108

Unemployment Insurance Program Framework 112

Title III Unemployment Insurance Policy Issues 119

Summary of Title III Policy Issues That Call for Attention 125

Challenges Facing Unemployment Insurance for Future Consideration 126

Conclusion 128

Part III Introduction to the Assistance Programs 131

The Legacy of the Social Security Act's Assistance Programs 131

Welfare Assistance and the Social Obligation 133

The Social Obligation in the American System134

Conclusion 140

5 Title XVI: Supplemental Security Income 143

Prologue 143

Prologue Summary 154

The Program Structure of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) 155

The Policy Structure of Supplemental Security Income 158

Conclusion 168

6 Who's Taking Care of the Children? Title IV: Temporary Assistance to Needy Families and Related Programs for Children and Families 173

Introduction 173

Program Structure of Title IV 179

Policy Structure of Title IV of the Social Security Act 194

Conclusion 204

Part IV Health: Insurance and Assistance 211

Introduction 211

Conclusion 219

7 Title XVII: Medicare Health Insurance for the Aged 221

Medicare in Its Social Welfare Context 221

Medicare's Programs 228

Medicare Policy Issues 237

Obstacles to Reforming Medicare and Health Care 245

Conclusions 248

8 Titles XIX and XXI: Medicaid and the State Child Health Insurance Program 255

Introduction 255

The Political and Economic Context for Medicaid/State Child Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) 256

The Context of Providing Medical Care 258

The Program Structure of Medicaid/State Child Health Insurance Program 260

The Policy Structure of Medicaid and SCHIP 270

Conclusion 278

Part V Title XX: Social Services and the Social Security Act 283

An Introduction to Title XX of the Social Security Act 283

9 Title XX: Social Services 287

Introduction 287

Context for Title XX Development 288

The Program Structure of Title XX 297

The Social Service Program under Title XX 298

Title XX/SSBG Policy Structure 305

Conclusion 309

10 The Social Security Act for America's Twenty-First Century 315

Introduction 315

The Social Security Act in Today's Environment 317

The Theory of Social Welfare Imbedded in the Social Security Act 319

Expanding Welfare Theory through the Social Security Act 323

Reforming the Social Security Act 328

Concluding Thoughts 338

Index 341

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