Since paying its first benefit check in January of 1940, Social Security has been a bedrock of economic security for millions of American seniors, children, widows and widowers, and disabled workers. Social Security represents the best of American values: rewarding hard work, looking out for family and community, and honoring the contributions retirees have made to our current prosperity.
Social Security is more important now than ever. Traditional pensions have all but disappeared, and savings, assets and home equity are all casualties of the economic crisis, but Social Security benefits have continued to provide a stable source of income for 27% of households. More than 50 million Americans received benefits in June of 2010 alone, including over 3 million children. And the program’s stimulative effect is undeniable — much of that money was pumped directly back into local businesses in every community in the country.
We can never predict who will become disabled, who will die young leaving behind dependent children, or who will live to be 100. But with Social Security, we can guarantee none of these events will lead to economic disaster for our fellow Americans – or ourselves.
This brief explains how Social Security works right now — for Americans of all ages — and analyzes long-term projections of the program’s finances. It explains why we should end the cynical drive to cut benefits and raise the retirement age, and instead focus on ways to increase benefits now for a stronger, 21st century Social Security program.
Read Social Security Works | Economic Opportunity Institute