Is “Social Security” Capitalized?

Those of us that want to pay attention to the way we write and do not want to appear careless or sloppy, might find ourselves confused at times in regards to proper capitalization of certain words and phrases. It’s true that some phrases present a challenge, as depending on the context of their use, they may or may not need to be written with an upper case letter, when used in a sentence. This becomes even more difficult, in the case of phrases, which are a group of words, often used in conjunction to describe something. One of the most common examples is the phrase “social security”. So, should social security be capitalized? The quick answer – this depends on the context in which the phrase is used.

Is “Social Security” Capitalized?

To find out when the context calls for upper case letters to be used, let’s consider some capitalization rules in English writing that apply to this scenario. First of all, it is quite obvious to most, that each new sentence should begin with a capital, The same rule applies to proper nouns, such as personal and organization names. They also should always be written starting with an upper case letter.

Considering these rules it’s simple to see, that if starting a sentence with the phrase “social security”, the “s” in “social” should always be capitalized. What about the word “security” then? All depends on the context. If the phrase is used to describe a certain government program (even in the middle of a sentence), like the Social Security Act, with “Social Security” being the name of said program, then both the “s” letters should be upper case, as it is, in this context, a proper noun.

However, if talking about social security nets in general, this is no longer a formal program name. Since no longer a name, or no longer a proper noun, it is in this context correct, to write the phrase with lower case letters.

So yes, the phrase “Social Security” should be capitalized.



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