Statement on 85th Anniversary of Social Security

August 14, 2020
Press Release

EVANSTON, IL - Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, Senior Chief Deputy Whip and Co-Founder and Co-Chair of the House Democratic Caucus Task Force on Aging and Families, released the following statement on the 85th anniversary of Social Security, which was signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on August 14, 1935:

“85 years ago today, FDR signed the Social Security Act and created an economic lifeline for the over 63 million seniors, people with disabilities, and families who currently rely on the program to survive. But instead of wishing Social Security a happy 85th birthday, President Trump has spent the past few weeks plotting to defund and destroy the program. Even worse, he has promised to ‘terminate’ Social Security if he is reelected.

“Today, I want to remind the President that Social Security is not an entitlement but an earned benefit. In fact, it isn’t just for seniors—it’s life and disability insurance that American workers and their families pay for with every paycheck. Two of my grandchildren received benefits after the death of their mother. 

“Many people don’t know that the average Social Security benefit is only about $15,000 a year. Yet one in five retirees rely solely on Social Security for income. Without Social Security, two in five older Americans would be living in poverty—including 9 million older adult women and 6.3 million older adult men. 

“My colleagues and I will keep fighting to protect Social Security from the claws of the Trump Administration and to expand Social Security so that everyone can have a dignified, safe retirement. As we face the COVID-19 pandemic and the worst crisis since the Great Depression, there is no more critical time to build on FDR’s legacy.”