On October 30, 1969, Richard Nixon signed landmark social security and Medicare legislation increasing much-needed benefits to widowed seniors who now receive 100 percent of their deceased spouses Social Security benefits and extended medical coverage to 1.5 million beneficiaries. The following is Nixon’s radio address broadcast the same day the legislation was passed:
A President signs many bills, but one that I signed today gave me special satisfaction because of the enormous impact it can have on the lives of millions of individual Americans.
I refer to the legislation known as H.R. 1–and especially to its provisions for helping, older Americans. Many of these provisions grew out of recommendations which I have been urging the Congress to act on for several years.
Let’s look at some of the things H.R. 1 will do:
First, nearly 4 million widows and widowers will get larger social security benefits–the full 100 percent of what was payable to the individual’s late husband or wife. This will mean more than $1 billion in additional income for these deserving people in the next fiscal year.
Second, over a million and a half older Americans who are now working can earn more income without having their benefits reduced.
Until today, if you were receiving social security, every dollar you earned above $1,680 cost you 50 cents in benefits–and every dollar you earned above $2,880 cost you a full dollar. But under the new provision-which I have advocated for years–you can earn up to $2,100 without losing a cent of social security, and every dollar you earn above that $2,100–no matter how many–will cost you only 50 cents in benefits. This will encourage more older Americans to work–helping them and helping the country.“