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PNS Daily Newscast - September 21, 2018 


We’re covering stories from around the nation including a victory for safety for nuclear site workers; President Trump chastises Republicans for not securing border wall funding; and a predicted spike in population fuels concerns about the need for care.

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Social Security: When Will the Candidates Cover It?

West Virginians are being encouraged to press the presidential candidates to talk about their plans for the future of Social Security. (aarp.org)
West Virginians are being encouraged to press the presidential candidates to talk about their plans for the future of Social Security. (aarp.org)
October 17, 2016

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Advocates for Social Security benefits are hoping the program comes up in Wednesday's final presidential debate. Social Security has barely been mentioned in the race, but a quarter of West Virginians rely on it to get by.

According to Nancy LeaMond, executive vice president of AARP, if the nation’s leaders don't act, future retirees could face an automatic benefit cut of nearly 25 percent every year after 2034.

"This is a lifeline program for people over the age of 65,” LeaMond said. "It's one of the top issues voters of all ages say the candidates should be addressing, and we think it's important to have that discussion before people go to the polls."

Federal figures show that the Social Security program brings almost $6.5 billion a year to West Virginia - nearly 10 percent of the state's total income.

LeaMond encourages people to visit 2016TakeAStand.org. It's one strategy AARP is using to send a message to the moderators of the next debate, requesting that the candidates be questioned about their plans for Social Security.

Some Republicans in Congress have argued that privatizing Social Security would increase benefits. But critics charge that would also increase risk for beneficiaries.

Private pensions have already eroded badly in the last few years, LeaMond said; meaning more people are forced to depend on Social Security precisely because of its reliability as a public program.

"We know, given that private-sector pensions have declined, people aren't saving quite as much as they used to,” LeaMond said. "Social Security will be even more important for future generations."

Currently, most income above $110,000 a year is exempt from Social Security taxes. Estimates have suggested that removing the cap and taxing all earnings would fill nearly the entire funding gap for the program for 75 years.

Dan Heyman, Public News Service - WV