As We Celebrate Social Security’s Birthday, Why Not Share Your Own Story?
Plus: We need your help to protect Social Security benefits and say NO to the “Chained CPI”
On August 14th, Americans everywhere can celebrate 78 years of Social Security.
When the Social Security Act was signed into law in 1935, almost half of all older Americans lived in poverty. At first, Social Security was just a retirement program. Today, it offers survivors’ benefits, benefits to a retiree’s spouse, and disability benefits. Social Security is a foundation of economic security for millions of Americans and their families. Here in Maine, one third of Mainers 65+ who are on Social Security rely on their benefit for 100% of their income. Without Social Security, over 80,000 older Mainers would fall into poverty.
Acknowledging the key role Social Security plays in the lives of many Mainers, AARP is working with the Frances Perkins Center to reach out across the state to hear what Maine residents have to say about this crucial program. Frances Perkins served as Secretary of Labor in the FDR administration. As Secretary of Labor she played a key role writing New Deal legislation, including minimum wage laws. However, her most important contribution came in 1934 as chairwoman of the President’s Committee on Economic Security. In this position she was involved in all aspects of the reports and hearings that ultimately resulted in the Social Security Act of 1935.
The Frances Perkins Center in Damariscotta is collecting stories from Mainers whose lives have been affected by Social Security benefits. They are looking for residents who have a story to tell that would help others understand its importance in our society. The “Social Security Stories Project” is an opportunity to join thousands of Americans in showing that you are part of how Social Security has transformed our country, our economy and our people – young and old. You can tell your own story, or you can submit a story on behalf of a loved one or a friend. Here are some helpful guidelines from the Center’s website:
Stories may be about how Social Security is helping with retirement even in these tough financial times.
Stories may be about how a veteran was able to live in dignity.
Stories may be about you, a family member or a neighbor.
Stories may be about how Social Security helped a family after a tragedy.
Stories may be about how children were left without parents, but not without economic security.
If a story has not come to mind, start asking friends and loved ones. You will find that a story is easy to come across. Chances are, someone you care about has a story to tell. Help their voice be heard.
Stories may be about how Social Security helped ensure someone received an education.
Telling your story is simple. The Center is looking for stories of 400 words or less or about three minutes of video. All of the stories told as part of the “Social Security Stories Project” will be posted on the Center’s website and other social networking sites. If you would like to share your own story, you can call (207) 208-8955 or go to the Frances Perkins Center’s website at www.socialsecuritystories.org.
For over 50 years, AARP has been committed to providing Americans age 50+ with quality, straightforward information on issues that affect them and their families. You may have heard a lot during the 2012 elections and in 2013 about the future of Social Security. If you would like to know more about the proposals being discussed and how they could affect you or your loved ones’ benefits, please let us know. You can call AARP Maine for more information at 1-866-554-5380 or, as part of AARP’s initiative You’ve Earned a Say, you can go to http://www.earnedasay.org for all the latest news and resources.
One current proposal that AARP strongly opposes is called the Chained CPI, a Washington term that really means cutting Social Security and veterans’ benefits, hurting seniors, women, people with disabilities and veterans who’ve sacrificed so much for this country. The chained CPI assumes that when the cost of something you normally buy goes up, you will substitute a lower-cost item. This theory falls short since many seniors, people with disabilities and veterans spend much of their money on prescription drugs, utilities and heath care – items that don’t have lower-cost substitutes and rise faster than inflation.
What can we do? Social Security is a self-financed program, not a piggy bank for deficit reduction. That’s why AARP is calling on Washington to leave Social Security out of the deficit debate so we can find responsible solutions that keep the promise to seniors, their kids and grandkids.
This is the time to make our voices heard on the Chained CPI. Take a look at our online calculator to see just how much the Chained CPI will cost you or someone you love. Then contact your own federal legislators and urge them to reject this faulty proposal.
Before Roosevelt signed Social Security into law all those years ago, many older Americans literally could not afford to stop working. After 78 years, it is hard to imagine life without Social Security. This benefit, earned over a lifetime of hard work, is making a difference in the lives of millions of families every day. Don’t let Washington decide about the future of this critical program without hearing from you first. Social Security is the one reliable, guaranteed source of income that is there for you in good times and in bad. When one considers the challenging economic climate of the last few years, strengthening Social Security now and for the future has never been more important.
In the meantime, happy birthday, Social Security, and here’s to 78 more years!
Photo: From iStock