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Social Security must be safeguarded

New York Teacher

Social Security is much more than a retirement plan.

Opponents have mischaracterized it as an inefficient savings plan whose funds would be better off in the hands of people who could invest it as they choose.

But they are wrong and they know it.

Social Security is the single most efficient, multi-faceted social insurance program ever developed in this nation. As an anti-poverty measure, nothing has been more effective.

Social Security, as amended since it was enacted in 1935, is probably the best protection against poverty in U.S. history. Social Security provides a lifetime annuity for retirees and their families, disabled workers and their families, and the families of deceased workers, as well as health care for the retired and disabled.

It provides coverage for most U.S. workers with the exception of some federal employees as well as public employees in about 12 states.

Nearly 170 million U.S. workers pay into the Social Security system and about 67 million received benefits in 2017, according to the Social Security Administration. In 2018, the system paid out about $1 trillion in benefits.

Because of Social Security, the elderly — those people age 65 and up — have the lowest level of poverty of any age group in the nation, about half the poverty level of children under age 18. Without Social Security, 22.1 million more Americans would be poor, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

In New York City, about 70,000 children (our students) collect Social Security as beneficiaries of retired, disabled or deceased workers.

Any fair-minded person looking at these statistics can see that Social Security is more than a retirement program. Yet even though Social Security is one of the United States’ greatest poverty-fighting programs, a movement is brewing in Congress to cut Social Security as a way to preserve the Trump administration’s huge 2018 tax cuts to wealthy Americans.

Social Security has no impact on the nation’s general budget. Not one cent. It is an earned benefit paid for by working people; it is not an unearned entitlement. Opponents like to call it that, but it’s just not true.

It is paid for through employee and employer payroll payments, by taxes on Social Security benefits for higher earners and through investment returns on the fund’s reserves.

Social Security payments are adjusted each year based on increases in the cost of living, and other aspects of the program are amended as well.

Social Security is the eighth wonder of the world. Let us protect it and improve it for future generations.


File for appropriate service credit

If you worked for either New York City or New York State before joining the Teachers’ Retirement System, you may be eligible for credit for this prior service.

Contact TRS or BERS for information about service credit, how to claim your credit and any costs involved. Make sure either TRS or BERS is aware of any prior service you have by filing a Record of Prior Service form. Contact TRS at 888-869-2877.

Variable Annuity
  Variable A Variable B Variable C Variable D Variable E
2018-2019 Diversified Equity Bond International Equity Inflation Protection Socially Responsive Equity
Nov. 92.192 15.709 10.076 9.996 16.959
Dec. 93.484 15.760 10.076 9.863 17.480
Jan. 85.504 15.494 9.587 9.582 15.786
For more pension information, call you UFT borough office or the Teachers' Retirement System at 1-888-8NYC-TRS (1-888-869-2877); or visit the UFT pension or TRS.
Related Topics: Secure Your Future