NEW YORK, Nov. 2, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- AARP today delivered over 10,400 petitions to U.S. Senator Charles Schumer of New York urging him to commit to working with the new Congress and new presidential administration to update Social Security for the 21st Century if re-elected. The group is also delivering the same set of petitions to Republican challenger Wendy Long.
AARP Associate State Director Chris Widelo, accompanied by AARP volunteers, presented the petitions signed by residents across New York to a Schumer campaign aide at 3 p.m. at the Senator's campaign office at 192 Lexington Avenue in Manhattan.
AARP, the social mission organization for the 50+, counts 2.6 million members across New York – where there are over 3.5 million Social Security recipients.
Social Security will be forced to cut benefits by nearly 25% in 2034 without action to update the program. That could cost some New Yorkers as much as $10,000 a year, and about $4,200 on average for Social Security recipients in New York annually.
A recent statewide AARP NY/Siena College survey found 57% of New York Generation Xers said they're not confident they'll receive promised Social Security benefits and 82% of Gen Xers and Baby Boomers combined call the likelihood that Social Security will remain available for future generations a significant problem.
AARP is conducting a nationwide "Take A Stand" campaign pushing the presidential candidates to detail their positions on updating Social Security and congressional candidates to commit to working toward that goal next year. The petition deliveries are part of the campaign.
"Doing nothing on Social Security is not an option," said AARP's Widelo. "We need all candidates for Congress to pledge that they will work with whoever the new president is to make sure Americans do not lose the benefits they have earned during their entire working lives. Working New Yorkers pay into Social Security with every paycheck; they should be assured of receiving the full benefits they're being promised."
Candidates Schumer and Long squared off in their lone debate this past Sunday night in Schenectady, but Social Security did not come up once during the forum sponsored and televised by Time Warner Cable news.
"Nearly all New York residents age 65 or older receive Social Security," Widelo added. "43 percent of New York retirees would have income below the poverty line if it wasn't for Social Security."
Next year is the ideal window for action. The first year of a new presidential administration is historically the most productive, and if the next president serves eight years without action there will be less than a decade before the cuts take effect - and options for averting reductions would become much more difficult and painful.
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SOURCE AARP New York