August 2nd is quickly approaching. As Congress works to hammer out a deal to cut spending and raise revenue before increasing the debt ceiling – the congressionally imposed cap on federal borrowing for government expenses – AARP would like to reiterate its strong opposition to any and all efforts to include cuts to Social Security and Medicare in such negotiations. Social Security is financed through payroll contributions from employees and their employers, separate from the rest of the federal budget, and therefore has not contributed to our nation’s deficit.
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For the next 25 years, Social Security will be able to pay 100 percent of its benefits to all eligible recipients and 75 percent thereafter. This means that at some point, Congress will have to develop a plan to guarantee the long-term solvency of the program. However, Social Security should not be considered as an asset to help balance the nation’s budget.
When discussing Social Security, it is important to keep in mind the faces of the people affected by proposed changes. Many hard working individuals rely exclusively on Social Security to help buy food, pay bills and cover medical co-pays. In fact, Social Security is the only source of income for 25% of older adults in New Jersey, the majority of whom are women. .
For example, Susan Baratz from Whiting, along with her 93 year old mother and 46 year old disabled son, rely entirely on their Social Security income. Since turning 11, her son has suffered from a serious seizure disorder. Susan works tirelessly as a caregiver for her family to keep her son and mother safe and healthy. However, she is terrified that Social Security might be included in budget negotiations. Cuts to Social Security would make it all but impossible for her family to afford some of the 26 prescriptions they collectively take each day. Social Security allows the Baratz family to survive. They are the faces Congress must keep in mind before cutting Social Security to cover an unrelated deficit. They are the faces that can make a difference.
AARP is urging its members to write and call their Congressional representatives to ask them to oppose cutting Social Security during these budget discussions. Stories like Susan Baratz’s can make a difference. Do you have a story to tell? Learn more about AARP’s Protect Seniors Campaign and please consider contacting your own representatives to remind them how devastating cuts to Social Security will be for our most vulnerable residents.
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