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Send a Message to President Obama: Women Need Social Security


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With the new Congress and a Republican-controlled House, there is a serious possibility that proposals to slash Social Security benefits may go forward. We need President Obama and the Democratic leadership to draw the line against any legislation that would increase the retirement age or alter the benefit formula – either of which would significantly reduce Social Security retirement income. Send this message to the President; ask him to speak out against cuts to Social Security in his State of the Union message in late January and to work with Congress to prevent any undermining of this vital program.

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Bad Deal in Store? - We are hearing rumors that a very bad deal may be struck early next year where Republicans would agree to vote for raising the debt ceiling in exchange for, among other things, severe reductions in Social Security retirement benefits. Shockingly, a number of Democratic leaders have been hinting that they might support such a move. This would, indeed, be a deal with the devil, as far as NOW is concerned.

Social Security Keeps Many Women in the Middle Class - A substantial number of women depend upon Social Security benefits, both for retirement and disability income. Fifty-seven percent of all Social Security beneficiaries aged 62 and older are women; 69 percent of beneficiaries 85 years and older are women. Even though retirement benefits are modest -- an average for women of just under $12,000 annually -- monthly Social Security checks account for half the total income for widows and unmarried women over age 65. In fact, for 46 percent of unmarried women who receive benefits, Social Security accounts for 90 percent or more of their income! A lifetime of sex-based wage discrimination, years out of the paid workforce caring for family members and lack of access to pensions means that many older women face an uncertain retirement future -- made much worse if benefits are reduced.

Women of Color Especially Harmed by Benefit Cuts - Recent studies have shown that African American and Latina women are especially at risk when they retire. Nearly half of all single Black and Hispanic women have zero or negative wealth and many approach retirement years nearly exclusively dependent upon Social Security.

Social Security Cuts on Top of Retirement Crisis - The country is facing a devastating retirement crisis with the disappearance of pensions, the loss of value in savings and 401(k) plans,, the decline in home values and massive foreclosures combined with serious shortfalls in state and local government pensions. Slashing Social Security benefits in what may be the only retirement income available to millions is just plain cruel – and a shocking departure from the values of fairness and compassion claimed by the president and other Democratic leaders.

President Obama Needs to Hear from the Women's Community - We believe that many advisors in the White House just don't get it when it comes to Social Security and the retirement crisis. From what we can tell, they especially don't understand the critical importance of Social Security retirement and disability benefits to women. We are counting on our activists to send a message to the President to do the right thing -- preserve Social Security benefits from bad deals in Congress.

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