Social Security: Shoring Up America's Safety Net

Ever since a legal secretary named Ida May Fuller received the first Social Security retirement check in 1940, Americans have been counting on Social Security to provide much- needed retirement income. For many older Americans, Social Security is their main source of guaranteed retirement income — income that continues throughout their lifetimes and is indexed for inflation every year (in 2019, the cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, was 2.8%).