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Social Security Providing $31 Billion to Illinoisans Each Month

PHOTO: As Social Security marks its 79th anniversary this month, a report finds it is providing great benefits to Illinois families and the economy. Photo credit: Zimmytws/iStockphoto.com
PHOTO: As Social Security marks its 79th anniversary this month, a report finds it is providing great benefits to Illinois families and the economy. Photo credit: Zimmytws/iStockphoto.com
August 28, 2014

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – A new report from the advocacy group Social Security Works, highlights the ways that at the ripe old age of 79, Social Security is helping Illinois' residents and the economy.

While pensions have changed, jobs have been lost and homes have lost equity, Eric Kingson, the organization's co-director, points out the federal program is still strong.

And he says it's providing a check every month to more than 2 million Illinoisans.

"That's huge,” he stresses. “That's $31 billion that comes into the state's economy each month.

“Roughly, a little more than 5 percent of all the personal income that residents receive. "

The report also finds Social Security lifted more than 800,000 Illinois residents out of poverty in 2012.

Kingson says despite concerns about the program's solvency, it is actually only facing a modest shortfall in the future.

This year's Social Security Trustees report projects that the program can pay all benefits in full for nearly two decades.

And Kingson says after that, it could still pay 77 cents on every dollar of earned benefits.

Kingson adds it's important that Social Security keep all its commitments without cutting benefits.

He says that instead of believing the hype that the program is sinking and needs to be dismantled, the discussion should focus on ways to strengthen it.

"Like our highway system occasionally, it has to be adjusted,” he states. “You run into some bumps into the road, but you don't start talk about ripping up the system.

“But the folks who want to destroy it, who want to rip it up piece by piece, they do start talking about, 'The sky is falling.’”

As part of American values, Kingson, a distinguished fellow at Syracuse University, says people have the responsibility to care for one another.

"Social Security is not about financing, that's the means,” he emphasizes. “The ends is the well-being of the American people and the kind of society we want.

“I think we all want a system where we work together and provide this kind of protection."

Millionaires and billionaires only make Social Security payroll contributions on their first $117,000 of earnings.

Kingson says having everyone pay the same rate would help close Social Security's entire projected 75-year funding gap.




Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - IL