Social Security turns 80 on Friday, Aug. 14. Since its creation, the program has helped Americans live with financial security and dignity in their old age. Social Security keeps 22 million Americans out of poverty, and all workers help keep the program going to be available for generations to come.
Social Security isn't just for seniors - it's the primary life and disability insurance protection for children and the disabled. It’s a social contract that if you become disabled or lose your job, you are not left on the streets. If anything, we need to expand Social Security to protect us all.
But there have been attempts by businesses and their allies in Congress to take away our retirement and profit from it. They have tried to hand over our accounts to greedy Wall Street bankers, raise our retirement age, and reduce the return on what we have put in. They have closed Social Security offices and send seniors to file claims on the SSA website where they’ll mostly get lost and lose out on the earned benefits they’ve worked hard for all their lives.
AFGE has been speaking out against SSA’s heavy reliance on the Internet as many people who rely on Social Security are the least likely to have knowledge, ability, and resources to use the Internet services. Moreover, 95 percent of people who’ve filed for benefits online have to be re-contacted because of missing information. People need experts to guide them.
There are things that can be done to keep our Social Security fund healthy, such as subjecting earnings above $250K to the payroll tax and switching to a Consumer Price Index for the Elderly (CPI-E), which more accurately measures the prices and inflation seniors face.
Read an AFGE member’s blog on the 80th Birthday of Social Security.