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Social insecurity

Last week the federal minimum wage rose to $6.55 an hour, increasing the annual earnings for a full-time minimum wage worker to $13,624.  While it's certainly the right move for Congress to raise the minimum wage for current workers, it raises an important question about retired workers.  Take a look at our statistics page and you'll see why: The average retired worker's Social Security check is now less than that of a minimum wage worker.

According to a new report from the Century Foundation, two thirds of older Americans receive 50 percent or more of their income from Social Security and a stunning 21 percent receive all of their income from Social Security. These numbers are even higher for women and minorities. It is shocking that after a lifetime of hard work millions of retirees are living on less than the minimum wage.

And the federal minimum wage is just what its name implies - a bare minimum. Indeed, it is so low, that the Economic Policy Institute notes that 23 states have set their own higher minimum wage requirements. Shouldn't older Americans relying on Social Security have more adequate incomes during their retirement?

To learn more about Social Security, take a look at the web sites for the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare and the National Academy of Social Insurance.  For a fun perspective, take a look at the Social Security Opera.


I have had Social Security for many years now, as well ..a VA Pension, My SSD gives about 740.00. My VA Pension was giving 219.00 per month, this month came 171.00. Somewhere my payee mentioned about an over payment because one or the other of the two do not keep up with the adjustments made . But she is payee of SSD, where i assumed the cut was made, and she noted that it was..
Now there is a cut taked off VA where i do not a payee.
Sounds confusing, would anyone happed to know e-mail address to get these to informations together straightened out?

thank you kindly ~ jimoer`i`ke

As I understand it SS was never meant to be the sum total of a retired persons support. It was just to aid folks who didn't have enough. People shouldn't expect to live entirely on SS. They need to provide something toward their retirement support.

Editor’s Note: You’re right, Social Security was never intended to be anyone’s sole source of income in retirement. It was always meant to provide a basic level of income protection that would be supplemented by pensions and personal savings. This is is often called the three-legged stool of retirement security.

The problem, as you'll see from our Statistics page, is that even today's retirees – a frugal generation that has lived through the nation's longest period of prosperity – have relatively little in the way of savings and pensions. And with employers breaking their pension promises at an alarming rate and personal savings at or near all-time lows, all indications are that tomorrow's retirees will have even less income from pensions and personal savings. That's why the fact that Social Security pays the typical retiree less than the nation's lowest paying jobs is so troubling.

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