Today, in Maine, 95% of retired Mainers 65-plus receive Social Security benefits
Before President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Social Security into Law on August 14 th 1935, many retired Americans fell into poverty, without a safety net to provide for them in their retirement years.
Thankfully, the deal was struck with Americans 83 years ago– pay into Social Security throughout your working life and you will be guaranteed an income when you choose to retire. The Social Security Program not only provides benefits to retirees, but also to families when a worker dies, retires, or becomes disabled. Social Security provides a lifeline to our most vulnerable populations:
- The average monthly Social Security benefit for a Maine beneficiary is about $1,200
- Social Security keeps 81,000 retired Mainers financially secure
- For 34% of Maine Social Security beneficiaries 65-plus, Social Security is their sole monthly income.
AARP has led the way in making sure Congress keeps its promise to support and improve this vital program so that millions of older Americans receive the benefit they worked so hard for, allowing them to live with dignity and financial security as they age.
Today, Social Security is financially strong and in no immediate danger of defaulting as alarmists would have us believe. Currently, Social Security can pay full benefits for just over 15 years. But if nothing is done to make the program financially sound for the long term, benefits will be cut by about 25 percent in 2034, according to the latest Social Security Board of Trustees report.
Social Security beneficiaries can’t afford these cuts to their benefits. Even with Social Security, many of America’s retirees still struggle to make ends meet financially on a fixed income as:
- Health costs continue to climb.
- Monthly utility bills increase.
- Prescription drug costs continue to skyrocket.
We need to ensure that Social Security can pay its promised benefits for both current and future retirees. If our leaders in Washington don't take steps to update and strengthen Social Security, it could cost future retirees thousands of dollars in benefits. In addition, Social Security must be updated to meet changing realities. Life expectancy is increasing, people are having fewer children and there are more women in the workforce than when the program was created. In addition, the retirement landscape has changed, with fewer people guaranteed pensions. Policymakers also need to be aware that current benefit levels are modest and that people rely heavily on their Social Security benefits.
This is why we must all hold our elected representatives accountable for enacting policies that will:
- Achieve long-term solvency and adequacy
- Ensure protections for those most in need
- Make improvements to reflect today’s workforce
- Ensure fairness to protect current beneficiaries and near retirees
This year, critical issues like Social Security – as well as Medicare, support for family caregivers, and prescription drug costs – are all on the line. That’s why your voice matters.
Pledge to vote and hold politicians accountable to keep Social Security strong!