Throughout my life, I have always had the desire to work with women in the promotion of economic equality. When I learned about the work Virginia Organizing was doing surrounding Social Security, I did not realize that this issue would be hitting so closely to the demographic that I care about. At every presentation, the audience was predominately female. Is it that they care more about this issue because they would be severely impacted if it were cut? I don’t know the answer to that but just as we all have unique fingerprints, each woman has a different reason or story as to why social security is so beneficial to her life and well being. Some women were previously married and got divorced, others were single parents, while others were injured doing the jobs they loved. A few women spoke out stating:
“My daughter and I live off of the benefits I receive from my disability benefits as I am unable to work right now.”
“Without Social Security, how would I pay my bills, raise my grandchildren, or buy food?”
“Please protect social security because that is the only means of income I have.”
“I am disabled and cannot work after 27 years of employment. I am having a hard time making it on the social security I do receive. Please do not cut the benefits. I cannot afford to make it without social security.”
“Social security is my financial life line that allows me to survive and live with dignity and integrity. I paid into this fund for many years and feel it should be honored respectfully.”
Women often receive less in Social Security benefits as they may leave the workforce to have a baby or take care of a critically ill parent or child. This is one of the areas that need to be modified by Social Security to ensure that when women do leave the workforce for short periods, they are not penalized but still pay into Social Security through interest or some other method.
Proposed cuts to Social Security would leave many women and their families with nothing. Women and their families rely on these benefits to pay for housing, food, and medication. Cuts would force them to make very tough decisions about where to live and how to maintain health care.
It is surprising that our elected officials frown upon other countries who blatantly disregard women altogether because if Social Security benefits are cut, that is exactly what our “patriotic” elected officials would be doing to women in the United States of America.
Tiffany Williams is an intern with the Virginia Organizing Social Security summer program. This summer in the South Hampton Roads area, you can find Tiffany giving daily presentations on the future of Social Security.