Friday, March 04, 2005

NOW on Social Security

We don't really do talking points here, but NOW's "Talking Points About Women, Social Security and Privatization" is more of a fact sheet and worthy of highlighting. Here's an excerpt (but please read the full piece if you have time):

Social Security is Guaranteed Retirement Income -- Social Security is a bare-bones retirement benefit, providing about $190,000 to retired women workers throughout their retirement years. This social insurance program is risk-free, with monthly payments absolutely guaranteed unless changed by an act of Congress. Risky private investment accounts would not guarantee benefits.
Over 60 million women work in jobs covered by Social Security and have 6.2% of their earnings withheld as payroll taxes. An equal amount is contributed to the trust fund by the employer on behalf of the worker.
Social Security Provides Monthly Survival Benefits -- Social Security payments make a significant improvement in low-earning retirees' family income. These benefits prevent tens of millions individuals and their families from living in poverty.
In 2005, the average monthly benefit paid to women as retired workers was nearly $827.40. For a retired married couple, the average is $1,574. For disabled workers, the average monthly benefit is $1,497 and for surviving spouses and children who have lost a working parent, the average monthly benefit is $1,979.
Almost 30 million women receive Social Security benefits, either as retirees, spouses of retirees, survivors, or disabled workers.
Social Security Provides Valuable Life and Disability Insurance -- Social Security includes life and disability insurance as well as retirement benefits. Similar insurance policies would not be affordable to the average worker if purchased in the open market. The value of life insurance provided to survivors of an average deceased worker is over $400,000, and the value of disability protection for a young disabled worker with a spouse and two children is $350,000. A retirement program based on investments in the stock market would not provide life and disability insurance coverage -- leaving millions of workers, their spouses and children at serious risk.
Social Security is Important to Women -- Social Security makes up 55% of older women's income, compared to just 39% for senior men. For many elderly unmarried women, it is their only source of retirement income! Private accounts and the discriminatory annuities we would be required to purchase would not guarantee the steady source of income so important to elderly women.
Women are 58% of all Social Security beneficiaries 65 and older, and 71% of all beneficiaries 85 and older.