WASHINGTON, Aug. 13, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On the eve of the 79th anniversary of the creation of Social Security, AARP Executive Vice President Nancy LeaMond issued the following statement:
"AARP salutes Social Security, whose growing importance to millions of American families of all political stripes deserves to be celebrated. Social Security provides earned benefits to approximately 58 million people: 41 million retired workers and their dependents, 6 million survivors of deceased workers (including children), and 11 million workers with disabilities and their dependents.
"In addition to AARP's advocacy to strengthen and protect Social Security, we offer free online tools that can help people of all ages maximize their benefits. These tools, including a Social Security Q&A Tool and a Social Security Calculator, can be found at our Rewards for Good page.
"As we approach this election season, AARP conducted surveys on a variety of issues, including Social Security. Through these and previous surveys, we consistently find that for the vast majority of voters over age fifty, Social Security remains a major issue in their voting decision. These voters prefer a candidate running for federal office who believes that the future of Social Security should be considered separately from any federal budget deficit discussions.
"Although voters rarely hear politicians say it on the campaign trail, some in Washington have shown a willingness to cut this invaluable program to reduce the deficit. Social Security is a self-financed program, not a piggy bank for deficit reduction. As we look to address Social Security's long-term financial challenges, we must consider its important role in providing income security, and we must consider current and future beneficiaries who have earned their benefits and rely on them.
"Social Security lifts tens of millions of seniors, widows, veterans, children and people with disabilities out of poverty. Declining pensions, inadequate savings, shrinking home values, and a difficult job market mean that the promise of Social Security will endure as a crucial lifeline for today's workers.
"Any adjustments to Social Security will affect individuals, families, businesses and our economy as a whole. That's why AARP is calling for a separate debate about responsible solutions that will ensure Social Security's strength and adequacy for current and future generations.
"For 79 years, Americans have found peace of mind and a measure of financial stability in the modest but critical benefits of Social Security. As we reflect on its remarkable success, AARP looks forward to engaging with elected officials, business and non-profit leaders, and the American people in an open conversation about how to strengthen and protect Social Security for the future."
Notes for reporters: AARP's Social Security resources for reporters and consumers are available online. For more information, check out AARP Public Policy Institute's fact sheets on Social Security and Economic Security.
Also check out our free interactive Social Security planning tools, including the AARP Social Security Benefits Calculator (www.aarp.org/socialsecuritybenefits) and the AARP Social Security Q&A Tool (www.aarp.org/ssqa) for your audience and yourself.
AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, with a membership of nearly 38 million, that helps people turn their goals and dreams into real possibilities, strengthens communities and fights for the issues that matter most to families such as healthcare, employment and income security, retirement planning, affordable utilities and protection from financial abuse. We advocate for individuals in the marketplace by selecting products and services of high quality and value to carry the AARP name as well as help our members obtain discounts on a wide range of products, travel, and services. A trusted source for lifestyle tips, news and educational information, AARP produces AARP The Magazine, the world's largest circulation magazine; AARP Bulletin; www.aarp.org; AARP TV & Radio; AARP Books; and AARP en Español, a Spanish-language website addressing the interests and needs of Hispanics. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to political campaigns or candidates. The AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. AARP has staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Learn more at www.aarp.org.