Friday, March 11, 2011

Because We're Stronger Together

Last week, I attended a briefing hosted by Generations United (GU) and co-sponsored by WOW on why Social Security is a crucial program for Americans of all ages. Since it is generally referred to as a program for retirees, its purpose of building economic security for other groups, such as children and widows, is sometimes overlooked. However, according to GU, cuts to Social Security would harm 6.5 million children.

What made the briefing so powerful were the personal stories shared by Social Security beneficiaries. Rep. Jan Schakowky (D-IL) shared how Social Security helped her son and his family get by after her daughter-in-law passed away. Morrisella Middleton, now a grandmother, discussed how Social Security was there for her mother decades ago when her father suddenly passed away. Furthermore, Social Security continues to be there for Morisella now as she raises two grandchildren on her own, since her daughter is no longer alive. I encourage you to check out GU’s report, “Social Security: What’s at Stake for Children, Youth, and Grandfamilies.”  The report features the stories of both these women and numerous other Americans.

The fight to strengthen Social Security is more than just an elder advocate fight. Though the majority of beneficiaries are retirees, to solely focus on this group would forego the important opportunity of a intergenerational effort for adequate Social Security benefits that allow so many to make ends meet. A united front is hard to ignore – because, in fact, we are stronger together.

Alisha Howell
Communications & Program Coordinator
Elder Economic Security Initiative

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