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Dorothea Lange


Widtsoe, Utah. Mormon woman, native of Denmark, receiving her firlst old age assistance check

Gelatin silver print
8 x 7 in. (20.32 x 17.78 cm)
Gift of the Marie Eccles Caine Foundation

Poverty among the elderly dramatically increased during and after the Great Depression. While many states ran pension programs, the elderly suffered due to a lack of economic security. In 1935, President Franklin Roosevelt signed into law the Social Security Act, a social insurance program that provided workers age 65 or older an income after retirement. In this program, the workers contributed to the retirement benefit by making regular payments into a joint fund.

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