Statement by the President Upon Signing the Social Security Amendments of 1954.
I AM VERY HAPPY to sign the Social Security Amendments of 1954. By enabling some 10,000,000 more Americans to participate in the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Program, it gives them an opportunity to establish a solid foundation of economic security for themselves and their families.
Beyond broadening the coverage of this program, this new law contains four other important provisions:
First, it raises payments to all retired workers by at least five dollars a month. It also raises--by $13.50 a month for retired workers and by $31.25 a month for families--the ceiling on payments to people now receiving monthly checks. People becoming eligible in the future will also receive higher payments, including increases that result from raising from $3,600 to $4,200 the maximum wage base from which the amount of their benefit checks is determined.
Second, the law eliminates the four or five lowest years of earnings from the computation of the OASI checks of workers who retire in the future. This provision is of great importance to many people whose years of unusually low earnings--for reasons of unemployment, illness, or otherwise--would sharply reduce their benefits.
Third, all retired workers under the program are permitted to earn more without forfeiting OASI checks. The amount of exempt earnings is increased to $1,200 a year, and this annual exemption is applied equally to wage earners and self-employed workers.
Fourth, the Act preserves the benefits rights, under Old-Age and Survivors Insurance, of those workers regularly covered under the program who become totally disabled for long and indefinite periods.
This new law is an important part of the broad program of the Administration and the 83d Congress to improve the well-being of our people. In the past month I have signed into law a number of other Acts directly affecting the human problems of each family in the land. These include:
1. More hospitals and nursing homes for persons who are chronically ill, special medical facilities for people not requiring hospitalization, and rehabilitation facilities for disabled people.
2. A start toward increasing from 60,000 to 200,000 by 1959, the number of disabled people rehabilitated each year.
3. Three Acts helping the States and local communities meet the nation's educational problems.
4. Help to provide and improve housing, to prevent and eliminate slums, and to conserve and develop urban communities.
5. Extension of the unemployment insurance program to almost 4,000,000 more workers.
These Acts and the Social Security amendments I have approved today will bolster the health and economic security of the American people. They represent one of the cornerstones of our program to build a better and stronger America.
Note: The bill (Social Security Amendments of 1954) is Public Law 761, 83d Congress (68 Stat. 1052).
The statement was released at Lowry Air Force Base, Denver, Colo.
Dwight D. Eisenhower, Statement by the President Upon Signing the Social Security Amendments of 1954. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/231774