SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION
The United States Social Security Administration (SSA) is an independent agency of the United States federal government that administers Social Security, a social insurance program consisting of retirement, disability, and survivors’ benefits. To qualify for these benefits, most American workers pay Social Security taxes on their earnings; future benefits are based on the employees’ contributions.
The Social Security Administration was established by a law currently codified at 42 U.S.C. § 901. Its commissioner, Michael J. Astrue, was sworn in on February 12, 2007 for a six-year term.
SSA is headquartered in Woodlawn, Maryland, just to the west of Baltimore, at what is known as Central Office. The agency includes 10 regional offices, 8 processing centers, approximately 1300 field offices, and 37 Tele-service Centers. As of 2007, about 62,000 people were employed by the SSA. Social Security is currently the largest social welfare program in the U.S., constituting 37% of government expenditure and 7% of GDP.