Social Security marked its 77th anniversary on Aug. 14.

When the Social Security Act was signed into law in 1935, almost half of all older Americans lived in poverty.

Originally, Social Security was just a retirement program; today, it offers survivors’ benefits, benefits to a retiree’s spouse and children, and disability benefits.

Social Security is a foundation of economic security for millions of Americans and their families. More than one-third of Mainers who are on Social Security rely upon their benefit for 100 percent of their income. Without Social Security, more than 80,000 older Mainers would fall into poverty.

Because Social Security is so vital to Mainers, our elected leaders owe us a full and open discussion about how they would keep it strong. That’s why AARP has launched “You’ve Earned a Say” (earnedasay.org), a national conversation focused on strengthening health and retirement security for all Americans. This is an opportunity for every Mainer to make their voice heard about the future of Social Security.

Especially considering the challenging economic climate of the last few years, strengthening Social Security now and for the future has never been more important. It is essential that Congress work together to find solutions that will keep Social Security strong.

Carol Kontos, president

AARP Maine

Portland

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