On Social Security’s 83 Birthday, Let’s Recognize That It’s More Important Than Ever

Today marks the day in 1935 that Social Security was enacted into law. For over eight decades, Social Security has served as a critical antipoverty program for women and families. Social Security lifted nearly 22 million people out of poverty in 2016, in particular:

  • Nearly 15.3 million people 65 and older, including nearly 9 million women;
  • More than 5.5 million adults 18-64, including more than 2.8 million women; and
  • More than 1.1 million children.

Social Security is especially critical to people of color and older women. While Social Security’s retirement benefits are modest (with the average Social Security benefit for women 65 and older is about $14,270 per year), Social Security is virtually the only source of income for more than one in four female beneficiaries 65 and older.
Given the importance of Social Security, we should be talking about improving benefits – and we can do that, with a few modest changes to the program. But none of us are well-served by policies like the Trump tax plan that unnecessarily threaten key programs like Social Security.