The 75th anniversary of Social Security is this year on August 14. Almost all working Americans (94 percent) pay into the Social Security system and over 52.5 million Americans received checks in 2009.
The Frances Perkins Center, a nonprofit organization in Newcastle, Maine named for the first woman to serve in a presidential cabinet (under Franklin Delano Roosevelt), is collecting personal stories about how the social program has impacted families. The Social Security Stories Project aims to gather a thousand 400-word stories and 3-minute videos by the end of July. Many of the contributions will be featured on the Center’s website and a book including approximately 25 of the submissions will be published in August. Check out the first video of ten Social Security stories below.
Social Security is the largest source of income for households with someone age 65 or older and makes up half or more of total income for about 64 percent of those households, according to a recent Congressional Budget Office report. “Frances Perkins really considered Social Security the feather in her cap and the most significant thing that she accomplished in her career,” says Barbara Burt, executive director of the Frances Perkins Center. “All of my relatives who are retried are counting Social Security.”
Many of the people featured in the first video are not retirees, but recipients of survivor’s benefits. Angela Stockwell of Athens, Maine, whose son was killed in an accident, talks about how Social Security supported his widow and infant son. “It is a retirement policy but it’s also a great life insurance and disability policy,” says Burt. “Social Security doesn’t help with the grief and emotional loss but at least it takes one of the worries away.
Written and video submissions are currently being accepted at SocialSecurityStories.org and 1-800-335-2082.