UPDATE (June 14, 2016) — The Seattle City Council on Monday unanimously approved the resolution to expand Social Security and Medicare to address the growing crisis of financial insecurity among seniors (and future seniors). Learn more at PSARA.org.
The following is from the Puget Sound Advocates for Retirement Action (PSARA):
SEATTLE — On Monday, June 13, at 2 p.m., the Seattle City Council will vote on a resolution to expand Social Security and Medicare. This resolution, which is being introduced by Councilmember Lorena González, is the beginning of a statewide campaign to gain support from local and regional government bodies for the expansion of Social Security and Medicare.
TAKE A STAND — All union members and community supporters are urged to join PSARA members in the Seattle City Council Chambers, 600 4th Ave., on Monday, June 13 at 2 p.m. to demonstrate your support for the resolution.
The resolution recognizes the vast retirement savings deficit in our country. It also acknowledges the lack of workplace retirement plans for more than 50 percent of U.S. workers and the failure of 401(k) plans to close the gap for workers without a retirement pension plan.
With the average Social Security benefit at $1,300 per month and the growing dependence of seniors on Social Security for most — if not all — of their income, the resolution identifies growing senior poverty as rapidly becoming the reality of a growing number of senior households. As the baby boomers age, senior poverty will place a greater and greater drain on public resources.
Particularly hard hit are women and people of color. People of color make up approximately 30 percent of Seattle’s population. Social Security statistics show that people of color are more likely to rely on Social Security as their primary source or sole source of income.
Women comprise 57.9 percent of Seattle’s population over the age of 65 and the average Social Security benefit for women is $12,400 per year. In addition, more than one quarter of LGBTQ seniors live below the poverty level, surviving on $2,000 or less each month.
The City Council resolution calls for Scrapping the Cap, expanding Social Security benefits, raising the Medicare payroll tax and expanding Medicare by opening the program to younger people and covering hearing, vision, and dental services. It also directs the Council to communicate the resolution to the Congressional delegation and include expansion and protection of the two programs in the Seattle federal legislative agenda, which means Seattle lobbyists will be supporting this effort in Washington, D.C.
Please come to the Seattle City Council meeting on Monday, June 13, at 2 p.m. There will be signs we can hold and opportunities to offer public comment. Come 15 minutes early and sign up to make your public comments of support.