Janice Ayres: The truth about Social Security | NevadaAppeal.com

Janice Ayres: The truth about Social Security

Janice Ayres
For the Nevada Appeal

As Social Security celebrates its 76th birthday, it is time for Americans to remind their leaders in Washington and those now running for president and Congress how vital this program has been for millions of middle-class families and to just leave it alone. It is just fine, thank you very much.

If one steps outside of Capitol Hill and away from campaign scare speeches, you will find most Americans know that Social Security is an economically sound and important program, funded by workers’ contributions, that ensures a measure of economic security in old age.

Americans also know that cutting Social Security has nothing to do with fiscal responsibility, yet some members of Congress rail on and on about “we can’t afford Social Security” when the truth is, we can’t afford an America without Social Security since it accounts for 90 percent or more of the total income for one in three seniors who have paid into it all their lives.

When you mention Social Security, most people immediately think of people in their late 60s and above; however, Social Security benefits more than just retirees. At the end of 2010, nearly 54 million people were receiving benefits as follows: 37 million were retired workers and their dependents, 6 million were children of deceased workers, and 10 million were disabled workers and their dependents. Think about that!

A recent survey showed that 98 percent of Americans agreed that Social Security money belongs to the workers who are contributors and to their beneficiaries. For the most part, Americans said they fully understood that Social Security doesn’t contribute one dime to the deficit and they were tired of some members of Congress saying that it did, just to push some self-serving agendas.

Did you know that despite the effects of the recession, the Social Security trust funds currently have a surplus of $2.6 trillion. This surplus is projected to grow until, in 2022, funds are projected to be $3.7 trillion – not exactly chump change.

Contact your congressional representatives and ask them to protect these benefits that assist more than 54 million American seniors and their children, benefits they have worked for, paid for, and are counting on. Tell Congress to stop acting as if this is welfare or a Ponzi scheme.

The RSVP Program is struggling to fund an appreciation Christmas luncheon for its wonderful volunteers at the Carson City Nugget; therefore, anyone wishing to sponsor a luncheon or two for a senior can send a donation to RSVP, 2621 Northgate Lane, Suite 6, Carson City, NV 89706. Any amount is welcome. For some seniors, this is their only “family” Christmas gathering.

• Janice Ayres is president of Nevada Senior Corps Association.