Monthly Archives: July 2013

Gender Inequities in the Social Security System

African American and Latina women are more likely to rely on Social security for 58 to 90 percent of their retirement income than any other group. African Americans women also receive less money monthly than any other groups (Hooyman & Kiyak, The Resilience of Older Women, 2005).  Other than the reality that women are often paid less than men  we also must realize that often the career choices women make also negatively affect their Social Security Benefit later in life.

The benefit is based on the earnings of the best 35 years of working.  Women often start work late, take an extended break or stop working early due to illness, to raise families or act as caregiver for a loved one. Married women, disabled women and widows are also penalized by even deeper decreases in benefits.  For Example the system also only allows women the greater of spousal and worker benefits earned.  Women caring for disabled spouses must choose the greater of disability and earned social security benefits and so forth.

In summary the largest inequities are resulting from not accounting for the time many women spend working informally.

References:

Hooyman, N. R., & Kiyak, H. A. (2005). The Resilience of Elders of Color. In N. R. Hooyman, & H. A. Kiyak, Social Gerontology, A Multidisciplinary Prespective (pp. 604-612). Boston: Pearson Education, Inc., as Allyn & Bacon.

Are We Handling Our Elders?

It seems the answer to this question is both enlightening and troubling. The main reasons for our ineffectual handling of social policies for older adults are:
1. American Values:
Social programs were developed to aid deserving seniors who had paid into the system while working. As we devalue our Elders It becomes less important to ensure their wellbeing. Social Programs were first initiated as a back up to individual and familial responsibility to support older adults. Designed for incremental needs they do not properly address the underlying causes of the need.
2. Fluctuating Economic Conditions:
Americans are not always cheerful givers. When the economy is struggling, politicians often reduce funding to social programs.
3. The state of fiscal resources:
Reduced funding equals reduced resources
An additional reason we are slow to react is the system that makes us great. Policies and spending must move through our system of checks and balances. This makes it difficult to react quickly unless forward thinking has puts the answer before the problem.
Western European countries instituted social policies in the nineteenth century. Not only did they have a head start but they view Elders wellbeing as a societal responsibility to be carried out by the government. In addition other forms of government may be easier to navigate in this type of situation.
In summary people spend money and time on what is important. When older adults become important to us as a society, we will ensure they are cared for correctly.
Works Cited
Hooyman, N. R., & Kiyak, H. A. (2005). Social Policies to Address Social Problems. In N. R. Hooyman, & H. A. Kiyak, Social Gerontology, A Multidisciplinary Prespective (pp. 689-726). Boston: Pearson Education, Inc., as Allyn & Bacon.

Support Builds for Older Americans Act – Newsroom: Bernie Sanders – U.S. Senator for Vermont

Support Builds for Older Americans Act – Newsroom: Bernie Sanders – U.S. Senator for Vermont.

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