Is Social Security Working for Women? [Fribble] June 21, 2000

Fribble Is Social Security Working for Women?

By (Carolyn Montgomery)
June 21, 2000

Countless numbers of older women are living below the poverty level through no fault of their own.

Most women 65 and older have worked at jobs outside of the home for a pittance, because they were never paid what men were! I know because I've been there and done that.

We older women were in and out of the job market because we had children and had to take time off, sometimes for years, to raise those children. Indeed, many of us had to work to be sure our children had a roof, food, and clothing!

Too many of us are living on a small Social Security pension that we draw on our deceased husbands' records because despite the fact that we worked almost all of our lives, we can draw more on his record than our own because we never made a decent salary! Now if that husband was never a good provider, then what we are drawing is well below the poverty level. Many of us cannot even afford to buy medicine that we need to stay well. We paid into the Social Security fund too, but we do not benefit from it if we are drawing on our husband's records.

Why does a person drawing the maximum benefit also get the same increase as the many people who are living on incomes below the poverty level? A 2% increase on a payment of $1400 per month bumps the amount up to $1428.00 per month. A 2% increase on $600 per month increases the amount to only $612.00, and most likely the latter person does not have any backup savings to speak of!

Why have food and energy been removed from the cost of living calculation? Everyone has to have both.

Social Security should be means tested, and food and energy need to be in our cost of living raises.