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Social Security Turns 75: Keeps Nearly 1-in-3 NV Seniors Out of Poverty

August 13, 2010

LAS VEGAS, Nev. - Saturday marks the 75th anniversary of Social Security. It's a program that was created during the depths of the Great Depression, when most older Americans were struggling with poverty. Since then, it's been credited for keeping millions of Americans out of poverty, including Silver-State seniors.

Monthly Social Security checks are keeping poverty at bay for nearly one-in-three Nevada seniors, according to Barry Gold. with AARP Nevada. A new AARP national survey shows a majority of Americans want to see the program strengthened rather than cut.

"Social Security is an earned benefit. When you pay into Social Security you earn a benefit; it's not a welfare program, it's your money that you put into the system with a guarantee that you'll receive a benefit when you retire."

Some in Congress are talking about reducing benefits as a way to cut the deficit, but Gold says their poll shows 85 percent of Americans oppose cutting Social Security for that purpose.

In addition to keeping local seniors out of poverty, Gold says Social Security has broader impact; helping widows and dependent children, as well as people with disabilities.

"One in seven Nevadans receive Social Security. That's over 390,000 people who live in our state, and Social Security brings in over $428 million into Nevada's economy each month."

The same survey finds across all ages, almost two-thirds of Americans say their family would be hard hit if Social Security were cut.

The survey is online at www.aarp.org/socialsecurity75th.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NV