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Social Security A Huge Part of Wisconsin’s Economy

PHOTO: Lisa Lamkins of AARP-Wisconsin says Social Security payments don't just benefit Wisconsin's senior citizens.
PHOTO: Lisa Lamkins of AARP-Wisconsin says Social Security payments don't just benefit Wisconsin's senior citizens.
October 10, 2013

MADISON, Wis. – According to a new study from AARP, Social Security payments have a huge impact on Wisconsin's economy.

Not only do the payments help sustain the state's senior citizens and others, Lisa Lamkins, federal advocacy director for AARP Wisconsin, says there is a multiplier effect.

"For every dollar in Social Security benefits that are paid in Wisconsin, it generates nearly $2 in economic activity," she maintains.

AARP’s analysis shows that Social Security has a $28 billion impact on the state's economy.

The study says Social Security even benefits younger people in ways that don't get much attention, such as supporting 195,000 jobs in Wisconsin.

Lamkins says the monthly payments figure prominently in the economic health of senior citizens.

"We know that individuals rely on Social Security for the vast majority of their income,” she says. “In fact, Social Security accounts for about half the income of typical seniors and substantially more than that for about a quarter of all people who receive these benefits."

The study says Social Security's $762 billion in benefits last year sparked almost $1.4 trillion in total spending nationwide.

Lamkins warns that any cutbacks to the program could have negative consequences for the entire economy.

AARP maintains this is not the time for any discussion about cutting the program.

"It's the individuals who rely on Social Security who have paid into the system and who deserve to have that benefit that they have worked hard for,” Lamkins says. “That's why AARP thinks it's very important that Congress leave out any discussion of Social Security in these debt ceiling debates and any political deals that they reach."

Tim Morrissey, Public News Service - WI