This week marks the 78th anniversary of our nation’s Social Security system. At The Arc, we know that Social Security is a lifeline for over 9.6 million beneficiaries with disabilities, including many people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD).
Social Security improves our lives in so many ways. It provides basic economic security for workers and their families – including children and spouses with disabilities – when a worker retires, dies, or acquires a significant disability. It helps people with disabilities who work all their lives enjoy a secure retirement. And it provides access to health insurance through Medicare, enabling many people with disabilities to get the medical care they need to survive and live in the community.
Social Security covers nearly all Americans, or an estimated 163 million workers. In comparison, 70 percent of private sector workers has no long-term disability insurance, 50 percent has no private pension, and 34 percent has no savings set aside for retirement.
It’s hard to imagine what would happen without Social Security. Benefits are modest, averaging about $1,100 to $1,200 per month, but go a long way in reducing poverty among beneficiaries with disabilities and their families. Many people with disabilities tell us that even a small cut in their Social Security benefits would mean facing terrible choices, like whether to take a prescribed medication or buy groceries.
The Arc knows how important it is to preserve Social Security. Over the last year, we’ve been on the front lines, speaking out against proposals like the chained CPI that would cut Social Security benefits and providing in-depth analysis. The Arc also has many recommendations for strengthening Social Security so that the system works better for people with disabilities and stays financially strong for decades to come.