The following essay was written by Doug Dickerson, Director of AARP of North Carolina
Celebrate a Bedrock for Financial Security – 80 Years of Social Security
Americans are celebrating the 80th anniversary of Social Security today, a program that has become the bedrock for financial security for all Americans as we get older. AARP pays tribute Social Security’s long-term success because it has kept millions of older people and their families out of poverty and helped people age with independence and dignity.
Today 59 million Americans receive Social Security benefits, including 1,907,394 North Carolinians. AARP’s Humans of Social Security is a great way to hear from people who talk about what the program means to them.
In North Carolina, Social Security is an important way of keeping older adults out of poverty and is a critical way to stimulate local economies accounting for $22 billion in local spending.
In 2014, 44 percent of the state’s 65+ population would have had incomes below the poverty line if they did not receive Social Security. 30 percent of Social Security recipients in the state rely on Social Security for 90 percent or more of their income, and 59.5 percent of recipients rely on Social Security for 50 percent or more of their income.
North Carolinians have earned their Social Security benefits by paying into the program throughout their working lives. Yet with 11,000 people in the country turning 65 each day for the next 15 years, and with people living longer, this program faces challenges in the future. A 2015 report from the Social Security and Medicare Boards of Trustees concluded, “Lawmakers should address the financial challenges facing Social Security and Medicare as soon as possible. Taking action sooner rather than later will leave more options and more time available to phase in changes so that the public has adequate time to prepare.”
According to AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins, “One of the most important questions is, ‘how should these programs be addressed?’ The answer affects how much people will pay into these programs while they are working and how much they will receive when they begin to draw benefits,” Jenkins said.
AARP believes as we ponder the answer to this important question, we must recognize two fundamental tenets. Read more