Social Security is one of the most successful government programs. It has consistently provided a safety net for seniors so that retirees are able to support themselves through their retirement and pay for food, housing, and medical costs. By helping to support the elderly and vulnerable among us, Social Security provides Americans with the guarantee of security for life. And these benefits are not just for senior citizens; Social Security also provides a crucial means of support for disabled workers and their families and to the spouses and children of deceased workers. Below is a sample of what citizens across America are saying about their Social Security benefits.
Boise, Idaho – The Idaho Statesman
January 16, 2005 – Letter to the Editor – link not available
"I live on $700 a month in Social Security disability, no food stamps, no welfare, just a $700 Social Security check each month.
I worked from the time I was 14 years old, I am now 50 and can no longer work.
I depend on the Social Security system to survive."
Passaic County, N.J. – Herald News
January 24, 2005 – Letter to the Editor
"The "i" in Social Security stands for "insurance." This means it is more than a pension. It also provides an income in the case of a worker's disability…
Please be careful with the Social Security system. It is not welfare. It is paid for insurance. It lets us seniors eat and have a roof over our heads, even when we or the government goofs."
Louisville, Ky. – The Courier-Journal
January 24, 2005 – Letter to the Editor – link not available
"A 58-year-old writer said in his Jan. 14 letter that Social Security is not as successful as some groups portray it to be. I strongly disagree.
I am 10 years older than the letter writer. I remember when some older folks without funds lived out their days at a county poor farm. Some older women had to work as domestics for little or no pay wherever they could find a place to sleep, perhaps as caretaker for a disabled person or as housekeeper in a single man's home…
[A]ll who are so anxious to gut Social Security had better consider their mothers, their wives and their daughters."
Des Moines, Iowa – Des Moines Register
January 11, 2005 – Letter to the Editor
"After nearly 20 years in the armed forces, five children and two college degrees, I continue to find my family among this country's working poor. This year both my wife and I will be over 50, and Social Security is the bedrock of our retirement plans."
Roanoke, Va. – Roanoke Times & World News
January 14, 2005 – Letter to the Editor – link not available
"I'm 64 years old, have worked hard and paid into Social Security. I'm now receiving a monthly benefit. And a good thing, because I'm having health problems and don't know what I would have done without it.
I'm worried about what will become of the young people today … The stock market is nothing but a gamble."
Des Moines, Iowa – Des Moines Register
January 15, 2005 – Letter to the Editor
"In 1939, two-thirds of America's senior citizens lived their 'golden years' in cold, hard poverty. Just a decade later, that percentage was down to half. By 1959, it was only one-third. Today, the number is less than 10 percent.
That's progress. What's progressive about it is that this decline in poverty is the result of the New Deal's passage of our nation's landmark Social Security program…
[T]his is a program that actually works, providing the modicum of income so our gray-haired citizens have a basic level of decent living when their earning years are over."
Fresno, Calif. – Fresno Bee
January 18, 2005 – Letter to the Editor
"When I was younger, in addition to paying into Social Security, I saved some of my paycheck into an Individual Retirement Account. I didn't gamble that money away by playing poker or rolling dice. I followed the advice of my 'investment adviser,' as stockbrokers call themselves now.
He is a successful broker, with a well-known firm, so I am sure he and they made money on the deal. I, however, ended up losing more than a third of my hard-earned savings.
My Social Security checks have not quite kept up with inflation over the past few years, but on the other hand, they haven't been cut by a third either."
Boston, Mass. – The Boston Globe
January 11, 2005 – Letter to the Editor – link not available
"All Americans benefit from a society in which no one is destitute and Social Security has been hugely successful for over 60 years, helping greatly to move us in the right direction. I was born in 1957, and I have contributed to Social Security all my life, believing that we all have the responsibility to share with those who have less, and the right to a decent old age when our turn comes."