As the nation anticipates the recommendations of the congressional supercommittee charged with negotiating a long-term solution for the federal budget, millions of seniors are worried about potential cuts to Social Security. Many seniors rely on Social Security because it is a vital program that helps keep them out of poverty. Statistics show that Social Security benefits make up at least 90% of the income for more than half of all Latino senior citizens. This reality makes them especially vulnerable in an economy that is already less than promising for the general population.
In response to these possible austerity measures, the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), AARP and Latinos for a Secure Retirement (LSR) have launched—“Latinos and Social Security ¡Tu Futuro Cuenta!”—a campaign to provide information about the state of the Social Security program and how potential cuts could affect Hispanic seniors and their families.
Next week in Miami, NCLR and our other two partners will host a Social Security town hall which will address the concerns of the Latino community in Florida. The Spanish-language program—with simultaneous translation in English—will begin at 10:00 a.m. EDT on Wednesday, September 21, at the Miami-Dade County Auditorium, located at 2901 W. Flagler Street in Miami. The event is free and open to the public, and it will feature Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado as well as speakers from NCLR, AARP, and the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement.
A look at the numbers shows just how important Social Security is to Florida residents:
- Social Security serves over 3.7 million residents of Florida and prevents more than 1 million of them from living in poverty.
- In Miami-Dade County, Social Security contributes more than $4.1 billion annually to the local economy by paying benefits to more than 371,000 residents.
- The beneficiaries of Social Security include 256,000 retirees, 42,935 disabled workers, and 25,570 children.
The U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) is severely underfunded, despite the vast numbers of people it serves, and this has resulted in unacceptable delays in benefit claims, the closure of several field offices, and the suspension of the annual participant benefit statement. What’s more, Social Security has not contributed one dime to the federal deficit and will remain financially solvent without any changes until 2037.
Latinos understand well the threat of potential cuts to a program that remains a financial lifeline to millions in their community. We strongly urge the community to join us in Miami to make your voices heard on Social Security!
For more information and to register, please visit www.nclr.org/socialsecurity. Details about the September 21 event are available in English or in Spanish.
This was first published at the NCLR Blog.