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Fighting to Protect Economic Security for Seniors

Washington, D.C.—Today, Rep. Yvette D. Clarke commemorated Social Security’s 75th anniversary by pledging to continue to protect and strengthen this bedrock program. Over 3 million New Yorkers, including nearly 68, 000 beneficiaries in the 11th Congressional District of New York rely on Social Security’s guaranteed benefits for retirement security, especially during these hard economic times.

“Today, I am reminded of the promise made 75 years ago—a promise of economic security and stability for Americans after a lifetime of hard work,” said Rep. Clarke. “I am proud to say that Social Security continues to deliver on that promise. For three-quarters of a century, through 13 recessions, New Yorkers have been able to depend on their benefits. In honor of this milestone, I vow to continue to fight to preserve this program for generations to come.”

Social Security is important now more than ever. Signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1935, Social Security was created at a time when the American economy had crumbled and was struggling to recover. Thanks to Social Security, millions of seniors today can live their lives with dignity and independence instead of poverty and despair.

“On the 75th anniversary of the creation of this momentous program, I am reminded of how the hard work of many Americans pays off. I will work tirelessly to guarantee that my constituents have access to the Social Security benefits that they rely on,” concluded Rep. Clarke.

Rep. Clarke’s Pledge to Strengthen Social Security

Below are the Social Security principles that Rep. Clarke stands for:

1.Social Security has a surplus of $2.6 trillion, which it has loaned to the federal government. Social Security did not cause the federal deficit. Its benefits should not be cut to reduce the deficit.

2. Social Security, which has stood the test of time, should not be privatized in whole or in part.

3. Social Security is insurance and should not be means‐tested. Because workers pay for it, they should receive it regardless of their income or savings.

4. Social Security is fully funded for more than 25 years; thereafter it has sufficient funds to meet 75 percent of promised benefits. To reassure Americans that Social Security will be there for them, Congress should act in the coming few years outside the context of deficit reduction to close this funding gap by requiring those who are most able to afford it to pay somewhat more.

5. Social Security’s retirement age, already scheduled to increase from 65 to 67, should not be raised further. That would be a benefit cut that places the greatest hardship on older Americans who are in physically demanding jobs, or are otherwise unable to find or keep employment.

6. Social Security, whose average benefit is $13,000 in 2010, provides vital protection against the loss of wages as the result of disability, death, or old age. This protection covers not only adults but also 98 percent of all children in the event of death or disability of a parent. Those benefits should not be reduced, including by changes to the cost of living adjustment or the benefit formula.

7. Social Security’s benefits should be increased for those who are most disadvantaged. The benefits, which are very important to virtually all workers and their families, are particularly crucial to those who are disadvantaged.