We’ve highlighted some key facts about the importance of Social Security to women, including women of color and their families. But a new report from the Commission to Modernize Social Security goes into more depth about the particular importance of Social Security for people of color and options for reform. As the report explains, people of color tend to have higher poverty rates, hold lower wage jobs, have more and longer periods of unemployment, are more likely to become disabled, and work in jobs offering few or no retirement benefits, all of which leads to increased reliance on Social Security despite lower benefits. Women, in particular, spend longer periods of time out of the workforce caring for family. The report also highlights the special reliance of children of color on Social Security, with four times as many African-American children as white children being lifted out of poverty by the programs’ life and disability insurance benefits.
I couldn’t agree more with the report’s conclusions that policymakers must consider the unique needs of the diverse groups of Americans who rely on Social Security, and that any reform must improve the economic security of beneficiaries, not weaken it. The whole report is well worth a read.