FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 15, 2010
CONTACT: AARP Media Relations, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-434-2560
AARP President Calls Social Security “Bedrock of Economic Security for Countless Working Americans and Their Families”
House Hearing Celebrates Importance of Program for Current and Future Generations
WASHINGTON—With the 75th anniversary of Social Security fast approaching, AARP President W. Lee Hammond, in testimony before the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security, emphasized the critical role that Social Security plays in the lives of 53 million Americans who receive benefits today, and will continue to play for millions of Americans in the future. As the President’s fiscal commission discusses Social Security in the context of deficit reduction, Hammond stressed that more than 8 out of 10 American adults oppose cutting Social Security to reduce the federal deficit, and announced that nearly half a million Americans have signed petitions in the past 6 weeks expressing their opposition to these cuts.
See Hammond's full testimony here.
Excerpts from Hammond’s testimony appear below:
“The promise of Social Security has endured for 75 years. It’s a promise that I believe embodies our deepest values as Americans – our obligations to one another – our obligations between generations – between parents and children – between grandparents and grandchildren – between those in retirement and those at work – between the able-bodied and the disabled.
“…President Roosevelt began what is arguably the most successful social program in the history of our great nation. Since that day, Social Security has become no less than the bedrock of economic security for countless working Americans and their families. The program is, indeed, more necessary now than ever, and will be even more necessary tomorrow than it is today.
“…older Americans, including our members understand that Social Security did not cause our deficit and they strongly oppose cutting Social Security benefits to reduce it. In just 6 weeks, over 433,000 people have signed AARP petitions opposing cuts in Social Security to reduce the deficit.
“And, according to an AARP Bulletin survey taken in May 2010, 81 percent of adults of all ages surveyed—those 18 and over—don’t want Congress to cut Social Security to help reduce the federal deficit. Seventy-one percent say they are strongly opposed.
“It [Social Security] provides more than half the family income for 61 percent of single seniors and 50 percent of seniors who are married. For about one in four seniors receiving benefits, it is nearly their only source of income. These benefits put food in the refrigerator. They buy medicine. They help people repair their homes. They pay for air conditioning in the summer and heat in the winter.
“Social Security benefits help all generations. Social Security has provided a lifeline to millions of Americans who, through sickness or injury, became disabled and could no longer work to support themselves or their families. And Social Security program has allowed countless widows, widowers and surviving dependents to make ends meet and continue on financially after the loss of a loved one.
“And, yet, as vital as these benefits are for millions of Americans, they are modest by any standard. Social Security was never designed to be a worker’s sole source of income in retirement. Today’s average workers’ retirement benefits will replace only about $4 out of every $10 earned while working. The average retirement benefit in December 2009 was only $1,168 per month—about $14,000 a year. The average benefit for retired women was even less—$983 a month—which comes to less than $12,000 a year.
“AARP will fight to ensure that the budget gap is not closed by unfairly targeting cuts in Social Security benefits that today’s seniors and future generations have earned over a lifetime of hard work.
“Future generations of workers will bear more of the market risk associated with investing for their retirement income. Lower income workers, in particular, are likely to become increasingly reliant on Social Security.
“AARP is committed to working with both political parties to help ensure that Social Security remains strong.”
To receive a copy of the full testimony by AARP President W. Lee Hammond, please contact AARP Media Relations at 202-434-2560.
AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization that helps people 50+ have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial and affordable to them and society as a whole. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to either political campaigns or candidates. We produce AARP The Magazine, the definitive voice for 50+ Americans and the world's largest-circulation magazine with over 35.1 million readers; AARP Bulletin, the go-to news source for AARP's millions of members and Americans 50+; AARP VIVA su Segunda Juventud, the only bilingual U.S. publication dedicated exclusively to the 50+ Hispanic community; and our website, AARP.org. AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. We have staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.