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Poverty and Income Assistance

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Longevity Insurance: Strengthening Social Security for People Age 82 and Older

John A. Turner
Director, Pension Policy Center

People in their 80's with low Social Security benefits are economically vulnerable. Few are able to compensate for a loss of non-Social Security income through work. People in this age group may not have sufficient resources to enjoy the last years of their lives with dignity.

Policymakers should add longevity insurance that targets beneficiaries age 82 or older with low Social Security benefits and long work histories to our current Social Security program. Age 82 is approximately the average life expectancy at age 65. Elderly poverty is high among this age group—a third higher than for people age 65-69. People in this age group are at risk of having fallen into poverty even though they had not been poor earlier in life. They have greater difficulty leaving poverty than people at younger ages. Strengthening Social Security for this group would provide cost effective social insurance.

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Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Another Lesson from Today’s Financial Meltdown

Henry J. Aaron, Senior Fellow, Economic Studies, The Brookings Institute

In the midst of the financial chaos enveloping Wall Street and threatening the economy of the nation and world, it is hard to think of much else. But it is worth a moment to recall the quite serious debate about partly privatizing Social Security that absorbed national attention just three years ago.

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Sunday, August 7, 2005

Happy 70th Birthday to the Social Security program, and many happy returns!

Wilhelmina Leigh, Senior Research Associate, Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies

As I wish happy birthday to the Social Security program, I think of my maternal grandmother who died in 1993 at the age of 101. Grannie received an annual letter from the Social Security Administration to verify her continued eligibility for monthly checks. My mother and I chuckled as we proudly put the forms into the return mail on her behalf; Grannie puts the lie to the proposition that African Americans don't benefit from Social Security because of their shorter life spans.

My maternal grandmother was widowed in 1936, the year after Social Security's birth. After the death of her husband, grannie did what she had to do to support her three children: domestic work and taking in both laundry and borders. Although her hard work was never acknowledged by coverage under the Social Security program, her late husband's work was, and she was able to receive a modest benefit check based on his year of covered employment.

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Saturday, August 6, 2005

Yes, Virginia, There is A Trust Fund.

Walter Shur, New York Life Insurance Company (Retired)

In a tour of the Bureau of The Public Debt several months ago, President Bush, commenting on the Social Security Trust Fund said, “There is no trust ‘fund’ — just IOUs that I saw firsthand.” That statement is, in its intent and effect, a repudiation of the public debt, and a clear violation of Section 4 of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which states, “The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law,...,shall not be questioned.”

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Saturday, August 6, 2005

A Slow Death

Walter Shur, New York Life Insurance Company (Retired)

One of the reasons the Bush Social Security plan is dying is that the public instinctively knows it is not being told the truth. Here is a prime example:

The President Giveth And The President Taketh Away.

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