As Social Security turns 78, AARP South Dakota is emphasizing the critical role Social Security plays in the lives of South Dakotans. Social Security provides an average monthly retirement benefit of $1,100 to 153,500 people in South Dakota, and contributes billions to the state’s economy.
“South Dakotans count on Social Security benefits earned through a lifetime of hard work,” said Sarah Jennings, state director for AARP South Dakota. ”Since President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the legislation creating Social Security, it has become the foundation of retirement security in America, and South Dakota. 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.”
“Social Security lifts tens of millions of seniors, as well as widows, children and people with disabilities, out of poverty. Right here in South Dakota, 7 percent of older South Dakotans (8,188) are living in poverty. Without Social Security income another 39,680 people would fall into poverty. These individuals count on the their benefits to keep food on the table, to pay for lifesaving medications, and to heat and cool their homes,” said Jennings.
That’s why AARP is working to protect and strengthen Social Security. Yet, some in Washington want to use Social Security as a piggy bank to reduce the deficit. One way is by “tweaking” the way cost of living adjustments are made, through a calculation called the Chained CPI. This change would result in $127 billion in cuts to beneficiaries over 10 years.
“What some consider a small “tweak” would actually be harmful to South Dakota’s seniors, veterans, the disabled, and women and children who rely on survivor benefits,” said Jennings. “Social Security isn’t a rainy day fund, or a piggy bank, it’s an earned benefit. Social Security, deserves its own debate, not rushed, irresponsible changes as part of a budget deal. We look forward to 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.”
Read AARP’s full statement on the 78th Anniversary of Social Security
AARP Public Policy Institute fact sheets on Social Security, including data on its importance to retirees, women, and minorities.
Interactive Social Security planning tools, including the AARP Social Security Benefits Calculator