Social Security: A Baseline Older Adults Need to Count On

By Shantha Ready Alonso
March 13, 2015

Ben and his wife Marce were raised in California but spent much of their working years in Texas where Ben rose up through the ranks to become Vice President of two separate oil companies.

As many parents do, they loaned money to their two sons by withdrawing funds from their retirement account to start businesses. Unfortunately, the loans were not repaid and by the time the couple moved back to Orange County, California to be closer to one son, their resources were close to being depleted.

By the time Ben’s health declined and he died at 80, his wife Marce had little left. A long-time diabetic, Marce developed a cardiac condition and could not remain independent. Fortunately with her Social Security widow’s benefit and access to a VA benefit from her husband, she was able to remain near her friends and family until she passed away at 81.

NETWORK believes that Social Security should not be means-tested because wealth comes and goes, and no one can predict what their financial future holds. For their whole lives, Ben and Marce paid into Social Security so that if they were to experience a time of need, they could count on it as a baseline of support. Older adults like Marce deserve to live in dignity.

Our Social Security system was created so that people could avoid falling into poverty after a life-long career. Contributions to our Social Security system are capped at $118,500 this year, which means that our nation’s top earners finished paying their share on February 12.

A just tax system requires that all people pay their fair share to help raise reasonable revenue for responsible programs, like Social Security, which is proven to help keep people over age 65 out of poverty. This week: Make three phone calls to support Social Security— one call to each member of your congressional delegation.

Call your Representative at 1-888-897-9753

Call your Senior Senator at 1-888-410-0619

Call your Junior Senator at 1-888-738-3058

Here is what you might say when you call:

“My name is (NAME) and I am a constituent from (CITY, STATE) and a member of (FAITH COMMUNITY). I’m calling because I support Social Security as a minimum baseline that ensures all older adults live in dignity. Many older adults experience poverty, even if they were well-off in their working years, so I do not believe means-testing Social Security is good policy. A just system requires all workers pay their fair share, which is why I also believe our nation’s top earners should invest in Social Security at the same rate as everyone else. Thank you.” 

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