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 most of these benefits, most workers pay Social Security taxes on their earnings; the claimant’s benefits are based on the wage earner’s contributions. Otherwise benefits such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are given based on need.
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 Teleservice Centers. As of 2007, about 62,000 people were employed by SSA. Social Security is the largest social welfare program in the United States.