Seniors Benefit From Social Security

Aug 25th, 2010 | By Sharon Shaw Elrod MSW EdD | Category: Senior Moments Blog

We reported last week about Social Security celebrating its 75th anniversary.  For more than seven decades, the Social Security program has been helping millions of Americans add to their retirement income and provide income for the disabled.  For some, it was the only income they had.  It saved them from poverty.  This week, MSNBC gave us a snapshot of Social Security.

The plan was a lifesaver to those struggling in the Great Depression, and continues to be for many retired citizens without pensions or savings. A lot of people throughout the past 75 years have lived better lives because of Social Security.  To this day, it’s still one of the most important sources of income for older Americans.

Expenditures are beginning to exceed revenues, and that’s a concern for all.  The Social Security administrators report that, although the system isn’t perfect, it is also NOT broken!  Citizens across this great nation support Social Security.  After all, it has lasted 75 years, and counting.  This is the reality for millions of senior citizens:

  • The program was signed in to law by President Roosevelt in 1935, originally for retired workers. 
  • It now also provides monthly income to widows, widowers and their minor children, as well as the disabled. 
  • Fifty million people now have access to their Social Security records online.
  • Average monthly benefits have increased from $22.50 to $1,100 over 75 years.
  • Half of elderly married couples using the program receive 52 percent of their income from Social Security, as do almost 75 percent of elderly single people. 

We are rapidly approaching the time, because of the Baby Boomers beginning to retire, that more will be going out of the Social Security Trust Fund than is coming in.  Some changes are needed, but radical change is not required.  There are three reasonable changes that can be considered without compromising the promises this country has made to its senior citizens: 

  • We can raise the retirement age to
    70, and/or
  • Change the formula for calculating annual inflation adjustments, and/or
  • Lift the cap on the amount of wages taxed, which is currently $106,800.

Any change in the direction of privatizing the program would destroy Social Security’s “safety net and put seniors’ retirements in the hands of Wall Street.”  Not a good idea.  Wall Street Greed has already demonstrated its incompetence in handling public funds. 

Robin Stelly, Field Coordinator for Penn Action, an issues advocacy group said recently, “We’re working to get the word out that Social Security is fine and there’s no need to panic.  Any fixes that need to be made can be easily found and don’t need to be done right now.”

President Franklin D Roosevelt said about Social Security, “We can never insure 100 percent of the population against 100 percent of the hazards and vicissitudes of life, but we have tried to frame a law which will give some measure of protection to the average citizen and to his family against the loss of a job and against poverty-ridden old age.” 

Amen.



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