Although many African Americans depend on Social Security benefits to meet their basic needs, the value of the program to this group is often debated and sometimes misrepresented or discounted. At a time when the nation is seeking to put its financial house in order and concurrently considering reforms to guarantee the future solvency and sustainability of Social Security, the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, with support from AARP, prepared this primer to spell out the facts about how Social Security’s disability, survivor and retirement programs serve African Americans.
Americans agree that Social Security has an important role to play during tough economic times. Worried about the poor economy’s effects on their prospects for retirement, Americans want to make sure that Social Security is strengthened for current and future generations. This is particularly true of African Americans (95%) and Hispanics (85%), who are more likely than whites (80%) to assert that Social Security is or will be an important part of their retirement income. Plagued by higher unemployment rates, fewer assets, and worries about paying their monthly bills, African Americans and Hispanics are especially supportive of strengthening Social Security. Continue reading