AARP Florida Volunteer President Doug Heinlen, right, and State Director Jeff Johnson visited Florida elected leaders in Washington in July to ask them to oppose the Chained CPI plan to reduce Social Security benefits by thousands of dollars a year over time.  Photo by AARP staff

AARP Florida Volunteer President Doug Heinlen, right, and State Director Jeff Johnson at the Capitol in July, asking Florida elected leaders to oppose cuts in Social Security benefits. Photo by AARP staff

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On the eve of the 78th anniversary of the creation of Social Security, which provides an average monthly retirement benefit of $14,900 to 2.94 million Floridians, AARP Executive Vice President Nancy LeaMond issued the following statement:

“In the years since President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the legislation creating Social Security, it has become the foundation of retirement security in America, lifting tens of millions of seniors, as well as widows, children and people with disabilities, out of poverty. Declining pensions, inadequate savings, shrinking home values, and a difficult job market mean that the promise of Social Security will become increasingly important as today’s workers approach retirement.

“Yet, some in Washington want to cut this invaluable program to reduce the deficit. Social Security is a self-financed program, not a piggy bank for deficit reduction. That’s why AARP is fighting to stop Congress and the President from cutting Social Security benefits using the ‘chained CPI,’ a change that would hurt seniors already in retirement as well as veterans, women, children and disabled Americans. Just last week, AARP volunteers delivered to Congress more than 1.5 million signed petitions opposing the chained CPI.

“Social Security is too important to rush changes like the chained CPI, or increasing the eligibility age, into a budget deal. As we look to address Social Security’s long-term financial challenges, we must think of the current and future beneficiaries who have earned their benefits and rely on them. Any adjustments to Social Security will affect individuals, families, businesses and our economy as a whole. That’s why AARP is calling for a separate debate about responsible solutions that will ensure Social Security’s strength for current and future generations.
“For 78 years, Americans have found peace of mind and a measure of financial stability in the modest but critical benefits provided by Social Security. As we reflect on its remarkable success, AARP looks forward to engaging with elected officials, business and non-profit leaders, and the American people in an open, honest conversation about how to strengthen Social Security for the future.”

As part of AARP Florida’s commemoration, AARP Florida volunteers gave Washington a piece of their minds about plans to cut Social Security in a new YouTube video released today, said AARP Florida State Director Jeff Johnson.  “I think it’s pretty clear that our volunteers don’t want Social Security used as a piggy bank for deficit reduction,” Johnson said.  “But make up your own mind what they are saying.”  Johnson urged viewers to go to:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9q17QvJVBg

AARP’s Social Security resources for reporters and consumers are available online.

For AARP Public Policy Institute fact sheets on Social Security, including data on its importance to retirees, women, and minorities, visit:
http://search.aarp.org/source/ppi/_/N-4gZ1z13ynhZ1z13zpx.

To see how adoption of the ‘chained CPI’ might impact an individual’s Social Security or veterans’ benefits, visit: www.aarp.org/earnedasay.

For interactive Social Security planning tools, including the AARP Social Security Benefits Calculator (www.aarp.org/socialsecuritybenefits) and the AARP Social Security Q&A Tool (www.aarp.org/ssqa), visit: http://www.aarp.org/work/work_tools.html/.