AARP: Strengthen the Social Security program
Resource type: News
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By Sy Larson. Social Security celebrated its 75th birthday on Saturday, offering us the opportunity to reflect on the importance of the nation’s most successful social program.
The Social Security Act was signed into law on Aug. 14, 1935, and since then has become the backbone of economic security for millions of Americans and their families. Originally, it began as a retirement program, but it was later broadened to include survivors’ benefits, benefits to a retiree’s spouse and family and disability benefits.
For 75 years, Americans have been paying into Social Security so they can collect on their benefits when they are ready to retire. In 2008, 31.2 percent of older New Jerseyans were kept out of poverty by the program. It is worth noting that Social Security makes up 90 percent of the family income for more than 22.1 percent of New Jerseyans. In 2009, more than 1.4 million New Jersey residents received Social Security benefits.
In order for future generations to reap the benefits of Social Security, the program needs to be strengthened. Big changes are not necessary. As long as we make small changes to Social Security now, we can keep the program strong for our children and grandchildren. They, too, should be able to count on a strong foundation of income upon retirement.
Social Security is a promise our nation has made to America’s workers and their families. As we celebrate its 75th birthday, AARP is urging our leaders from both sides of the aisle to reject any plans to raid Social Security in order to reduce the nation’s deficit. Let’s instead work to protect and strengthen it so that future generations are also guaranteed the long-term financial security they deserve.