Daniel Marans writes for the Huffington Post about Social Security’s 81-year impact. From its launch as our first national pension program for retirees, it has expanded, in line with the original vision, to cover 60 million people, including people with disabilities and their dependents as well as the partners and children of workers who die.
When Social Security was enacted in 1935, about half of all older people were living in poverty. According to a report by the Democratic staff in Congress’ Joint Economic Committee, more than 4 in ten older adults would still be living in poverty without Social Security. Thanks to Social Security, just one in ten older adults live in poverty today.
Today, 14.5 million older adults are not living in poverty because of Social Security. About 57 percent of them are women. But Social Security is an intergenerational system, in 2014, 6.4 million children, or 8.7% of all children, benefited from Social Security, up from 5.4 million (7.3%) in 2003. Social Security keeps many of those children out of poverty — the child poverty rate in families receiving Social Security is 25.5%, but it would be 42.8% without those benefits. And, Social Security benefits are designed to help lower earners more than higher earners. Social Security benefits replace about 41 percent of the income of lower earners, compared with 20 percent of the income of average earners–the amount at which people stop contributing to Social Security.
To learn more, read Social Security Works’ latest national and 50 state reports, Social Security Works for the United States and for each state.
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