GOP Leaders Threaten Social Security

February 18, 2011

Retiree Leader Rejects “Cold-Hearted” Proposal

For Immediate Release

February 18, 2011   

The following statement was issued today by Edward F. Coyle, Executive Director of the Alliance for Retired Americans:

“The Alliance for Retired Americans, a grassroots advocacy organization with over 4 million members, is outraged by the cold-hearted ways in which House Republicans are trying to lower the budget deficit on the backs of seniors, persons with disabilities, and young survivors.

“Their plan would create massive furloughs – shutting down the entire agency for 20 working days.  This would be devastating for the people in our country who are most in need.  For example:

•    Phones and offices would be shut down, leaving current recipients who have questions or concerns unable to get the help they need.  3.6 million people visit Social Security offices each month.  Social Security receives 119,000 calls a day to its field offices and 280,000 calls a day to its 800 number. A twenty-day furlough would block 8 million callers who need immediate help; 
•    Over a half a million people who are applying for benefits would be forced into a long backlog of delays that could extend well into next year; and
•    Those grieving from a recent death of a spouse would be unable to change their benefits status, banking information, and other details to help them through this difficult time.

“Millions of Americans would not get the help they need, all because of political gamesmanship and pettiness by the Republican Party.

“In my opinion, this is a back-door effort to cut Social Security.  The Republicans have caught some much-deserved criticism when they have suggested cutting Social Security benefits, raising the retirement age, or turning privatized system over to Wall Street.

“But with this move today, they are hoping nobody notices.

“But we notice and we are here today to defend Social Security, one of America's greatest success stories. 

“Social Security is a promise that our government makes to the American people.

“To keep that promise, the Social Security Administration must have the resources and staffing its needs to make sure that seniors, persons with disabilities, and survivors are able to receive the benefits they have earned and need each month to make ends meet.

“The Alliance for Retired Americans strongly opposes this bill and urges the Senate to reject these cold-hearted cuts.”

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Contact: Contact: David Blank (202) 637-5275 or dblank@retiredamericans.org

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