NEW YORK, Aug. 14, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Marking the 80th anniversary of Social Security, a flash mob of about 70 AARP volunteers and New York leaders of the association celebrated the earned benefits program today outside Roosevelt House on East 65th Street in Manhattan with a cake in Social Security card motif, red, white and blue balloons, and birthday cards.
A second, similar celebration followed in front of the FDR memorial statue at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park on the southern tip of Roosevelt Island.
AARP chose the locations to honor the father of Social Security, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who lived with his family at 47-49 E. 65th Street from 1908 until his third term as president in the early 1940s.
The location, now the Roosevelt House, was the spot of the first official discussion about Social Security – which included President Roosevelt and the first woman to serve in a presidential cabinet, New Yorker Frances Perkins, FDR's Secretary of Labor.
"Social Security has provided a critical lifeline for Americans since Franklin Roosevelt – a great New Yorker - signed the program into law 80 years ago today," said Beth Finkel, State Director of AARP for New York State. "AARP is thrilled to celebrate this milestone birthday for what is truly an earned benefits program for Americans; where better to do so than Roosevelt House?"
Four of every five Americans plan to rely on Social Security, according to a new national survey commissioned by AARP. Yet there is anxiety about its future; recent AARP New York surveys found 38 percent of voters in Generation X (ages 35 to 50) statewide and 33 percent in New York City don't think they'll ever get Social Security benefits.
- Keeps over 1.2 million New Yorkers out of poverty statewide, including more than 900,000 age 65 and above (about 43 percent of the state's 65+ population as of last year).
- Accounted for half or more of the income for 59 percent of New Yorkers age 65+ (over 1.1 million statewide) in 2014.
- Provided the only source of income for 30 percent of older New Yorkers (over 570,000) last year.
"It's hard to imagine 1.2 million New Yorkers struggling to feed, clothe and house themselves because they don't have a basic retirement income," Finkel added. "We can't take Social Security for granted -- especially with 80 percent of Americans planning to rely on the program. We pay into the system every day of our working lives, and we should be able to count on the benefits we've earned when the time comes. AARP looks forward to hearing from the 2016 presidential candidates on how they'll address Social Security so we can start a constructive dialogue on how to ensure it remains a rock of retirement."
SOURCE AARP New York