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Chairman Johnson, Ranking Member Becerra, and members of the Subcommittee, thank you for giving me the opportunity to testify today on behalf of the
In announcing this hearing, Chairman Johnson stated, "Americans want, need, and deserve a
For a large majority of Americans,
Through wars and recessions,
My testimony will discuss the importance of
Last month, over 58 million Americans received income from
Benefits are modest. The average
Yet these modest payments are critically important.
For most Americans,
The data above are based on the
An analysis of data from the Survey on Income and Program Participation (SIPP) found that only about one in five families headed by seniors received any money from retirement accounts in 2009, and among those did, typical distributions were modest. n11 Among the 19 percent that received any distributions, the median amount for the year was
Poverty among seniors is more extensive than many people realize, because it is underestimated by the official poverty measure. A more accurate--and disturbing--measure of poverty among seniors is provided by the
The main reason for the increase in poverty among seniors under the SPM is that even with
These statistics demonstrate what most Americans already understand: that's why nine out of ten agree that "
These data show that today's workers also will rely on
Proposals to cut benefits are especially troubling because
The nation's retirement savings and pension systems are failing millions of Americans; most of the tax benefits for retirement savings go to those who need them least. n23 They should be reformed. But if the goal is to increase retirement security for average Americans, the surest and most effective way to do it is to protect and enhance
Protecting and improving
The 2014 Report of the Social Security Trustees shows that although
The Trustees project that the
What the actuaries and policy makers did not foresee in 1983, when they enacted a plan they projected would secure solvency for
That is the approach most Americans favor. A national survey by the
There are various options for increasing revenues for
Despite the substantial and continuing increase in
In response to pressure from the public and some Members of
Increasingly, SSA has been relying on conducting its work through online interactions, and it plans to continue in that direction. n39 But while it is important to improve online services, this strategy has its limits, even for people who are comfortable getting information and conducting business online. For example, for several years, the
In addition, access to and ability to use online services is more limited among the population of elderly people and people with disabilities that
It is SSA's responsibility to ensure that all Americans--especially those who are poor or vulnerable--have access to the benefits they deserve. And it is
Thank you for giving me this opportunity to testify.
n2 All data in this paragraph are from
n3 SSA, Annual Statistical Supplement to the Social Security Bulletin, 2013 (
n7 NWLC, Women and
n8 All data in this paragraph are from SSA,, Income of the Population 55 or Older, 2012 (
n9 See, e.g.,
n11 All data in this paragraph are from
n12 All data in this paragraph are from
n14 Id. NWLC calculation of percentage increase based on Table 1.
n16 Strengthening Social Security: What do Americans Want?, supra note 1. http://www.nasi.org/sites/default/files/research/What_Do_Americans_Want.pdf.
n24 See SSA, Social Security History, http://www.ssa.gov/history/.
n26 For a discussion of such proposals, see, e.g.,
n31 What's Next for
n33 Strengthening Social Security: What Do Americans Want?, supra note 1.
n35 Analyses by the
n38 Press Release,
n39 SSA, Agency Strategic Plan, 2014-2018 (2014), http://www.ssa.gov/agency/asp/materials/pdfs/plan-2014-2018.pdf.
n40 See NWLC, Making the Most of Your Retirement Income: Social Security Worker Benefits (
Read this original document at: http://waysandmeans.house.gov/UploadedFiles/7_29_14_SS_Testimony_of_Joan_Entmacher.pdf
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