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Strengthen Social Security

Social Security has remained strong for its 87 years, largely because of vigorous support from the American people and dedicated funding to provide a dependable source of income for millions of families. Currently, 50 million retired workers and 2.6 million of their dependents receive Social Security benefits every month. About 1 out of every 4 of these households rely on Social Security for 90 percent or more of their income. Social Security also covers about 5.8 million survivors of deceased workers and 8.5 million employees with disabilities and their dependents. Social Security monthly benefits average about $1,856 for retired workers and $1,395 for those with disabilities.

Americans earn their Social Security through a lifetime of hard work. It provides a basic foundation of income security, including cost-of-living adjustments to help protect the money workers have earned from inflation. And Social Security is guaranteed for life, so a retiree will never outlive this vital income. But the program faces a long-term financial shortfall. If Washington doesn’t take action within 10 years to protect and save Social Security, it could be cut by 20 percent, an average of $4,000 a year. 

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AARP guiding principles

As you consider candidates in the upcoming elections, keep in mind AARP’s priorities for the Social Security program:

  • Options should be transparent. Any process looking at Social Security options should be transparent and provide substantial opportunities for input from the public and outside organizations.​
  • Proposals should reflect economic shifts. Any proposals must reflect today’s changing workforce and the dynamic economic and demographic shifts that make it harder for workers to save enough for retirement.​
  • New laws should follow congressional rules. All legislation to adjust Social Security should go through the regular order of congressional business and be done outside the context of debt reduction.​
  • AARP opposes any sunset provisions. We oppose any attempt by Congress to “sunset” Social Security so it has to be reenacted every few years. That would gravely threaten the benefits earned over a lifetime.

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