Economic Crisis Underscores Need to Improve Social Security Benefits

The financial crisis has exposed the profound vulnerability of rank and file Americans to the risks of a market economy and points to the need to address the adequacy of Social Security benefits. The National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI) today issued12 policy proposals in a new report, Strengthening Social Security for Vulnerable Groups.

"Declining home values, shrinking retirement accounts, and rising joblessness imperil dreams of a secure retirement for seniors and working families. Social Security is the source of retirement income that remains secure despite the market meltdown," noted Kenneth Apfel, Chair of the NASI Board of Directors.

Independent scholars, who were selected by an expert NASI committee, developed the new policy ideas with support from the Rockefeller Foundation. "These new ideas are timely as President Obama and the 111th Congress consider how to help families deal with losses in their other retirement funds," said Judith Rodin, the Foundation president. "The Rockefeller Foundation is proud to support NASI's pioneering approach to rethinking the social contract of the 21st century, and in particular its application to poor and vulnerable people."

The policy ideas, which reflect the views of the independent scholars, aim to improve Social Security protections for low-wage workers, elderly widows, the oldest old, disabled individuals, farm workers, and low-paid workers with careers interrupted by caring for children or aging family members. For a list of the papers and scholars, click here.

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