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LEAGUE FOR INDUSTRIAL DEMOCRACY

Promotes a better understanding of problems
of democracy in industry through its
pamphlet, research and lecture services and
organization of college and city groups. Ex-
ecutive Directors, Harry W. Laidler and
Norman Thomas, 112 East 19th Street, Naw
York City.



Ii your
organization
listed in
the Survey's
Directory of
Social Agencies?
If not
why not?
Rates are
thirty cents
per line



Foundations



AMERICAN FOUNDATION FOR THE BLIND,
INC. 15 West 16th Street, New York. A
national organization for research and field
service. Activities include : assistance to state
and local agencies in organizing activities
and promoting legislation ; research in legis-
lation, vacations, statistics, and mechanical
appliances for the blind ; maintenance of a
reference lending library. M. C. Migel, Presi-
dent ; Robert B. Irwin, Executive Director.



RUSSELL SAGE FOUNDATIpN For the Im-
provement of Living Conditions Shelby M.
Harrison, General Director ; 130 E. 22nd St.,
New York. Departments : Charity Organiza-
tion, Consumer Credit Studies, Delinquency
and Penology, Industrial Studies, Library,
Recreation, Social Work Interpretation,
Social Work Year Book, Statistics, Surveys.
The publications of the Russell Sage Founda-
tion offer to the public in practical and
inexpensive form some of the most impor-
tant results of its work. Catalogue sent
upon request.



nical procedure based on scientific princi-
ples." After a concise and lucid survey of
the essences of the psychotherapuetic
schools of Freud, Jung, Adler and Meyer,
he points out their influences in the de-
velopment of psychotherapy and the na-
ture of therapeutic actions.

With some reservations Dr. Schilder
proclaims that Freud's work is the basis
for every psychotherapeutic approach;
that the psychoanalytic method is indis-
pensable; and that any further develop-
ment of psychotherapy which does not
utilize Freud's work is unthinkable. Ad-
ler's work, he holds, has done much more
valuable service than the semi-mythical
teachings of Jung. Similarly, he expects
little from the approach of psychobiology
since psychobiology is largely based upon
organic factors.

This book is not intended for a text-
book in psychology, but it has the earmarks
of a new psychological school developed
from Freudian conceptions. After general
considerations, Dr. Schilder details the
tools of psychotherapy and their utilization
with critical reflections. Among them are
discussion, advice, persuasion, cathartic
hypnosis, free association, dream inter-
pretation and group therapy.

A considerable part of the book is de-
voted to extensive and highly systematized
questionnaires which should be extremely
useful to those only slightly acquainted
with clinical work or for beginners in
psychological investigation. One chapter
deals with the selection and appliance of
the psychotherapeutic tools in the treat-
ment of twenty-two specific types of neu-
roses, psychopathies and psychoses. It
would be a more practical guide if the
specific types yielded to the suggested
method. Unfortunately a much greater
reservation and less rigidity in the meth-
od advised is sometimes necessary.

A pioneer work of this sort might tend
to overschematize or oversimplify highly



complex issues which still remain par-
tially unknown, but Dr. Schilder mani-
fests care and critical astuteness in
avoiding these pitfalls. His style and easy
readability made his discussions clear to
laymen as well as to specialists.
New York RALPH S. BANAY, M.D.

All But How To Pay Them

TAX SYSTEMS OF THE WORLD, A YEARBOOK
OF LEGISLATION AND STATISTICAL INFORMATION.
The Tax Research Foundation. Price $3.75
from the Commerce Clearing House, Inc., Chi-
cago.



A COMPLETE tax library in one vol-
^ ume, this seventh edition of Tax Sys-
tems includes several hundred thousand
revenue facts in an atlas size book weigh-
ing five pounds, a hint of the comprehen-
siveness of the tables included.

The general editorial work for the
yearbook was done by the New York
State Tax Commission and several dis-
tinguished authorities in public finance,
with the unpaid collaboration of three
hundred specialists in this country and
abroad. Thus the volume goes far toward
constituting a "Who's Who" of ranking
professors in university departments of
government and economics throughout the
country.

Sixty kinds of taxes with comparative
tables for the forty-eight states are in-
cluded, among them the much maligned
poll tax. There are tax charts for each
state, and for fifty-eight countries, or
subdivisions of Canada, Australia and
other countries beyond our borders. Each
chart is prepared by a specialist, usually
resident in the geographical unit for which
he is an authority.

The League of Nations Fiscal Com-
mittee, in 1931, commended the original
edition of Tax Systems, the members ex-
pressing "their readiness to assist to the
utmost of their ability in enlarging the
scope of this work." It is perhaps an indi-
cation of the insight of that original plan
In answering advertisements please mention SURVEY MIDMONTHLY

368



r.nd the continuity and steadiness of the
editorial work that the preface has been
expanded, but not changed in outline. The
volume grows in scope and value with
each succeeding edition.

Social workers each year are more
aware of the underlying tax structure as
the basis of their efforts at community
betterment. For the world-wide picture
of the taxes upon which public welfare
increasingly is dependent, they may well
consult this encyclopedic volume.

RACHEL R. ANDERSON
Tax Research Librarian, Albany, N. Y.



Run of the Shelves

LABOR IN THE UNITED STATES- -II ASIC
STATISTICS FOR SOCIAL SECURITY, by \Y. ^.
Woytinsky. Committee on Social Security. So-
cial Science Research Council. 333 pp. Price
$3.50 postpaid of Survey Midmonthly.

A STATISTICAL study which reclassifies
and adapts occupational and employment
data to the administrative needs of the
old age insurance and unemployment
compensation programs.

RESEARCH MEMORANDUM ON POPULA-
TION REDISTRIBUTION WITHIN THE
UNITED STATES, by Rupert B. Vance. 134
pp. Price $1.

RESEARCH MEMORANDUM OF MIGRA-
TION DIFFERENTIALS, by Dorothy Swaine
Thomas. 423 pp. Price $2.

Both published by Social Science Research Coun-
cil, 230 Park Avenue, New York, N. Y.

BOTH of these studies are fruits of the
council's active concern with population
research which manifested itself first in
1924 with the appointment of a com-
mittee on the scientific aspects of human
migration. From this committee the two
committees responsible for the present
studies are lineal descendants. Both stud-
ies are scientific in their approach and
method; both consolidate the results of
other research in their respective areas
and indicate next steps in expanding the
base of existing knowledge.



SURVEY MIDMONTHLY



SURVEY ASSOCIATES INC.

Publication and Editorial Office:
112 E* 19 Street, New York, N. Y.

SURVEY MIDMONTHLY Monthly t3 a year

SURVEY GRAPHIC Monthly J3 a year

SUBSCRIPTION TO BOTH ?5 a year.

JULIAN \V. MACK, chairman o\ the Board;
RICHARD B. SCANDRETT, JR., president; JOSEPH P.
CHAMBERLAIN, JOHN PALMER GAVIT, vice-presi-
dents; ANN REED BRENNER, secretary.

PAUL KELLOGG, editor.

BEULAH AMIDON, ANN REED BRENNER, JOHN
PALMER GAVIT, FLORENCE LOEB KELLOGG, LOU-
LA D. LASKER, GERTRUDE SPRINGER, VICTOR WEY-
BRIGHT, LEON WHIFFLE, associate editors; HELEN
CHAMBERLAIN, assistant editor.

EDWARD T. DEVINE, MARY Ross, JOANNA C.
COLCORD, RUSSELL H. KURTZ, HELEN CODY BAKER,
contributing editors.

WALTER F. GRUENINCER, business manager;
MOLLIE CONDON, circulation manager; MARY R.
ANDERSON, advertising manager.



DECEMBER 1938



CONTENTS



VOL. LXXIV No. 12



Survivors' Benefits JOHN j. CORSON 371

Amendment Season for Social Security GLEN LEET 373

A Juvenile Court Gets Its Face Lifted MARION ALBY 375

The Unseen Plague of Chronic Sickness ERNST p. BOAS, M.D. 376

The Other Side WILBER IRVIN NEWSTETTER 378

The County Worker's Job

Learning From the Job JOSEPHINE STRODE 380

Porter Lee, Social Work Philosopher JOANNA c. COLCORD 382

Here in Washington: by The Survey's Observer 383

The Common Welfare 384

The Social Front 386

Jobs and Workers Relief Among the States Youth
and Education The Insurances Against Crime Birth
Control Hospitals The Public's Health Professional
People and Things

Book Reviews 395

The Pamphlet Shelf 400

Survey Associates, Inc.



The world's armament bill will exceed $17
billion this year and not a nation on earth
is prepared for war. St. Louis Post Dis-
patch.

The world has been cursed in the last
thirty years by people who had abstract ideas
and tried to make society fit them. DORO-
THY THOMPSON, news commentator.

They [social workers] are more inter-
ested in finding out what applicants for re-
lief need and in giving it to them than in
making sure that they are entitled to help.
Chicago Tribune.

Private welfare agencies in Omaha are so
deluged with appeals for bread and shelter as
to be distracted from their programs of con-
structive and preventive work, FARNSWORTH
CROWDER in Survey Graphic.

We need not worry about preventing crimes
in the underprivileged boy if we will stop
committing crimes against him and breeding
him in underprivileged areas. SANFORD
BATES, Boys' Clubs of America, Inc.

Nothing is so certain in human affairs as
that what is built on force must perish and
that the free responsible human soul, on which
democracy builds, is indestructible. ALVIN
JOHNSON, The New School for Social Re-
search.

Among the reasons why the light from the
lamp of Florence Nightingale shone far was
because she was known to be perfectly ready
to throw it at anybody who stood in the way
of righteous progress. DR. THOMAS PARRAN,
JR.. C.S. Public Health Service.



So They Say



There is nothing quite so powerful in the
world as an idea whose time has come.
VICTOR HUGO.

Capital punishment is no deterrent; it is
merely a custom. EDWOOD H. WILSON, war-
den, Delaware State Prison.

It is curious how we change our ideas of
modernity as we push back our studies into
the past. PROF. EDWARD KENNARD RAND,
Harvard University.

A bachelor's degree is not an insurance
policy against the effects of economic depres-
sion. Report on earnings oj alumni of the
University of Minnesota.

Elegance in velvet to carry you through
your most social afternoon charity lunch-
eon, cocktails, dinner. New York depart-
ment store advertisement.

To discuss American political troubles with
Europeans was like a millionaire complaining
to one of the unemployed how difficult it is
to find a really good valet. WALTER LIPP-
MANN, news commentator, on his return from
Europe.

The next time the counterfeits try to sell
you the idea of dictatorships, remember
this: they want to make America part of
their scheme. We are their only threat! We
have everything they haven't got and every-
thing they are against!! Liberty, Indepen-
dence. Tolerance, two beautiful oceans, Myr-
na Loy and ice cream sodas. WALTER
WINCHELL, columnist.



Civilization's greatest handicap always
has been mankind's inability to reject any
fool idea that is preached long enough.
Buffalo News.

I think it's a social detriment to be a
policewoman. Our boy friends are awed by
our strength and don't like the idea of us
carrying guns. Candidate lor job of police-
woman, New York.

No man can possibly be educated until he
has been a candidate for public office. You
can't get it by heresay. RICHARD B. SCAN-
DRETT, JR., recent candidate for representa-
trve-at-large. New York.

Do you have a man who goes out to tell
people what they can't do when they want
to do it when the neighbors don't want them
to? Inquirer at office of Indiana State De-
partment of Public (Pel/are.

War is not an instinct but an invention.
It is unknown to animals and is purely a
human institution, like science or adminis-
tration. JOSE ORTEGA Y GASSET, Spanish
philosopher, in The Rotarian.

Democratic institutions are never done;
they are like living tissues, always amaking.
It is a strenuous thing, this living the life of
a free people; our success in it depends upon
training, not upon clever inventions. WOOD-
ROW WILSON, 1893.

Here is the paradox of knowledge. The
only things we know as immutable truths
are the things we do not understand. The
only things we understand are mutable and
never fully known. ROBERT MORRISON MAC-
IVER, in On Going to College.






(oerstanooneanol
to interpret misun*
oerstootj attitudes



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tasttan&ttmperamcituratt
anij rdfgfon^ritage anU 80*
pf ratfotuano rfjroa^lj stroitt
ant satridte to promote tfjc
uni>ofspirft}ntl)ebonbof
oeate"- tips is tfte tnaf toroartj
tlic peatt of oU tKjat passed
all unDer standing : : Sucfc is
ri)e meattfne of oar f ortr jtacs*
e? perienee ftere*1s it not noro
die Kjope for tlie best tljat it is



(SraKjam na^Ior

K)ita0o ommo0
murtctf rt ID




Now more than ever do we cherish Professor Taylor's holiday greeting of a few years ago. His inspiriting
message, with its illuminated initial, was set by hand in the Donat Type of that great German, Gutenberg



SURVEY MIDMONTHLY



DECEMBER 1938




VOL. LXXIV NO. 12



Survivors' Benefits

By JOHN J. CORSON

Director, Bureau of Old Age Insurance, Social Security Board



THERE were those who, in 1935, said it wouldn't
work ! There were some men and women, in sym-
pathy with the objectives of the Social Security Act,
who predicted that its old age insurance provisions were
unmanageable. An insurance program, they contended, that
was to cover twenty-six million men and women was not
within that category of things which, in the words of Adam
Smith, contains so little "mystery in the business" as to be
susceptible to government operation. No matter how de-
sirable a system of social insurance to aid American work-
ers against the hazard of old age dependency might be, such
a system was deemed unworkable.

Today little, if any, further proof of the workability of
old age insurance is needed. The federal old age insurance
s\ stem two years old this coming January now is work-
ing. Already the earnings of more than 32 million employes
who, since January 1, 1937, have had employment covered
by the act have been recorded as a basis for subsequent
monthly old age retirement annuities commencing January
1, 1942. Approximately 250,000 lump sum benefits have been
paid to wage earners who have attained sixty-five and to the
heirs of those who have died. Claims for such lump sum
benefit payments are being received at the rate of 700 daily.
The bulk of all claimants receive their benefit checks within
fifteen days. An efficient organization has been built and
trained which can economically keep the simple record of
earnings required for each of this vast number of wage
earners, expedite the handling of their claims, and, through
a nation-wide network of field offices, bring to employes
and employers the essential information and service which
enable them to meet their obligations. Finally, old age in-
surance is being administered at an annual cost of less than
6 cents of each tax dollar collected from employers and
employes for this protection.

These two years' experience have demonstrated not alone
the feasibility of existing statutory provisions for old age
insurance but also the need for orderly evolution of these
provisions if the hazards of modern wage earners are to
be met adequately. With the system and its administrative
organization already on its feet, the payment of monthly-
annuities could readily be commenced before January 1,
1942. These annuity payments, it now seems clear, must be



increased during the early years if they are to meet the
needs of retired elderly workers. Both steps are important
if a contributory social insurance program of old age pro-
tection is to be established. Finally, the day-to-day working
of old age insurance has demonstrated the necessity of pro-
tection for the survivors the widows and dependent chil-
dren of wage earners who die before becoming old.

On August 20, 1938, Stephen Pollakowski, a steel work-
er in Pittsburgh, died (the incident is real though the name
is fictitious). During the year and a half before his death
he had worked pretty regularly, earning about $28 a week ;
his wages since 1936 amounted to $2175. The record of
these wages was the basis for the calculation of the lump
sum benefit of $76.12 that was paid to his wife and children.
The amount was small because he had worked so brief a
time since the old age insurance system became effective on
January 1, 1937. Steve was only forty-two when he was
carried off by pleurisy. Had he lived to be sixty-two and
earned similar wages in covered employment until that age,
the lump sum payable on the greater aggregate of accumu-
lated earnings would have approximated $1000. By that
time, too, his two children, now in their teens and both in
highschool, would be self-supporting. As it was, Steve, more
youthful, received a minimum of protection for his wife,
their daughter Margaret, and Steve, Junior, at a time when
protection was most needed. Without such protection the
son had to leave school to find work; his mother, who had
not had a job since she was married, had to look for em-
ployment calling for little skill and training.

FROM the point of view of both the individual and the
public, the two problems are closely linked and equally
urgent. The average worker is at least as much concerned
to provide for his family in the event of his premature
death as to provide for his own old age if he lives. The
public is as much concerned to forestall dependency from
the one cause as from the other.

Figures gathered from old age insurance operations indi-
cate that death, as a cause of dependency, is no theoretical
hazard. Of some 250,000 lump sum payments certified thus
far, approximately 55 percent were made at the death of
the wage earner, as against some 45 percent paid to wage



371



earners who had reached sixty-five years of age. Even
though some change in the relative proportion of "life" and
"death" claims will occur in the future, a very substantial
proportion of insured workers will not live to receive old
age annuities. When the wage earner dies before retirement
age, insurance protection is all the more needed.

On July 1 of this year, the posted records of employe
earnings reported for 1937 indicated that the average annual
wages of these workers come to about $900. These findings
confirm the belief that, for the mass of people, the possibility
of adequate provision for survivors through individual sav-
ings or insurance is extremely remote. Furthermore, in
approximately 60 percent of the cases where death claims
have been paid, the wage earner left no estate except his
old age insurance claim; in another 14 percent of the total,
the estate was less than $1000.

The great majority of those who die leave families. For
example, a study covering about 2000 death payments
made in behalf of male wage earners during March 1938,
discloses that in about 73 percent of the cases a wife is the
beneficiary. This same study reveals that more than two
thirds of the decedents left children and that approximately
half left more than one child. Some of these children are,
no doubt, adult and self-supporting; but other estimates
indicate that of 100 men who die, some 45 have children
young enough to be considered "dependent." Analyses of the
federal-state programs of aid for dependent children show
that for about 42 percent of the children aided, the cause
of dependency is the father's death.

These facts, even as briefly summarized as they must be
here, leave no doubt about the realities of need confronting
the family of the average wage earner at his death. Nor is
there any question as to who pays the ultimate cost of de-
pendency. The public has long assumed a major share of
this burden through general relief and through state
mothers' aid laws. Indeed, it was largely because of the ex-
isting provisions for mothers of children who are in need
that the Social Security Act, when drafted in 1935, did not
include any direct provision for survivors' insurance. By
1935 such insurance was in effect in seventeen European
countries, the Swiss Canton of Basle, and Uruguay.

THE question, therefore, is not whether old age insurance
should provide benefits to survivors, but what form
the payment might best take and what its purpose should be.
Existing provisions for death benefits under Title II of
the act call for single cash payments, in an amount equal
to 3~*/2 percent of the insured worker's total wages in cov-
ered employment, to be made to the close relatives or estate.
Since the wage earner now pays in taxes only 1 percent of
his wages and under the maximum rate contemplated in the
act will never pay more than 3 percent, this arrangement
appears equitable. Every worker or his estate, if he dies, will
get back substantially more than the worker himself has
paid in taxes. Old age insurance is thus a "good invest-
ment." To regard death payments solely as returns on an in-
vestment is a legitimate view but a limited one. A more
socially constructive interpretation must give due considera-
tion to continuing needs as well as to financial rights.

The limitations of the present 3^> percent provisions in
this respect become evident when one contrasts two hypo-
thetical but entirely possible situations:

A young man of twenty-two goes to work in a job cov-
ered by the old age insurance system. He marries and dur-
ing the next five years has three children. At thirty, after



having worked in covered employment for eight years, he
dies, leaving his wife to care for their young children. If his
total earnings for those eight years were fairly high, say
$10,000, his wife would receive a lump sum payment of
$350 hardly an adequate provision for a family of four,
particularly in view of the fact that it will probably be some
fifteen years or more before the children can become self-
. supporting. Such a single cash settlement does little to re-
lieve the old and tragic dilemma of the widowed mother.
The other extreme is represented by the "confirmed
bachelor." Say that he works from age twenty-two to fifty-
two and has earned $40,000 during these thirty years. At
his death the insurance benefit would amount to $1400.
This payment might in such case go to a sister or a nephew
or someone else who, though technically a "near" relative,
had never been financially dependent upon or even closely-
associated with the. insured worker.

In spite of the objective fairness of the 3 l /2 percent lump
sum provision, inequities of the sort suggested by these con-
trasting cases would certainly occur under the present plan.

BUT this is not the only problem which may be fore-
seen with considerable certainty. As time passes and in-
sured workers accumulate more and more wage credits, the
amount paid out in death claims will increase. It is esti-
mated that in 1950 approximately $85 million will be paid
out annually in such claims under existing terms of the law,
with an average payment of about $365. By 1980 the esti-
mate indicates that about $250 million would be the annual
payment in claims and the average approximately $810.

Experience, both in private insurance and in workmen's
compensation, has proved over and over again that putting
substantial sums in the form of lump payments into the
widow's hands is a doubtful benefit to her or her children.
The very ones who most need protection those with little
or no business experience are most likely to find their re-
sources vanishing through unwise expenditure or ill-advised
investment. "Wealthy men, therefore, draw careful wills,
provide for competent administrators, select trust companies
to manage their estates," wrote I. M. Rubinow in "The
Quest for Security." "Middle-class husbands are urged by
insurance companies to convert their insurance into life
pensions for their widows. . . . And, of course, the dangers
of waste or loss are ever so much greater in case of the
workingman's widow to whonj every thousand dollars may
look an inexhaustible fortune, and who has had no experi-
ence whatsoever in handling sums of money. The situation
is very clearly recognized in [workmen's] compensation.
In fatal accidents compensation almost invariably takes the
form of periodic payments."



Online LibrarySurvey AssociatesSurvey midmonthly : journal of social work (Volume 74) → online text (page 100 of 109)