80th Anniversary of Social Security This Year
America celebrated the 80th anniversary of Social Security in 2015. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act into law on August 14, 1935. At that time the U.S. was in the Great Depression and nearly half of the elderly in the country lived in poverty.
Today, millions of Americans rely on Social Security as a source of retirement income. The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) declared that Social Security is critical to the economic security of the middle class. According to one of their surveys, 4 in 5 Americans rely on it or plan on retiring on it as their source of retirement income. In addition to retirees, disabled persons, their dependents, and survivors of the deceased also rely on it. Its administrative costs are low.
Although Social Security is gender neutral, women depend on it more than men. Three reasons are that women live longer than men and they are likely to live more years in retirement; elderly women are less likely than elderly men to have pension sources other than Social Security; and women are more likely to be low-wage earners and the Social Security system returns a higher percentage of earnings to low-wage earners than to high-wage earners. See
for more reasons that Social Security is important to women.
|Katie Jordan on the right with a friend.
WWHP Board member Katie Jordan, Treasurer of the Illinois Alliance of Retired Americans which represents 257,000 retirees, celebrated the 80th anniversary with Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky on August 14 at the Centennial Activity Center in Park Ridge. U.S. Rep. Schakowsky called Social Security our "national treasure" and reminded participants of their responsibility to protect it and build on it. Katie was also invited to the White House Conference on Aging on July 13 where President Obama expressed his pride in Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act.
One of the most important architects of the Social Security Act was Frances Perkins, the first woman to hold a cabinet position in the U.S. Early in her life she had a Chicago connection. More about that in next month's E-newsletter.