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Spanberger Marks 85th Anniversary of Social Security, a Lifeline for More Than 150,000 Seventh District Residents

Henrico, Virginia , August 14, 2020

Today, U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger released the following statement to mark the 85th anniversary of the Social Security Act being signed into law. The creation of the Social Security program in 1935 contributed to a drastic decline in poverty among American seniors and disabled individuals.  

“Only a few generations ago, poverty stalked the daily lives of millions of American seniors. The day when you stopped working was the first day you began carrying a constant anxiety about being able to afford necessary medical treatment, put food on the table, and keep a roof over your head. The creation of Social Security disrupted this pattern and revolutionized the way our society cares for its seniors and those with disabilities, affording new financial security and peace of mind to millions of Americans,” said Spanberger. “In Virginia’s Seventh District, more than 150,000 Central Virginians rely on earned Social Security benefits – including retirement, disability, and survivor benefits – to cover their monthly expenses. The program is more than supplemental – it is a lifeline for our neighbors and older family members. Nearly a quarter of all Social Security recipients in Virginia rely on their payment for 90 percent or more of their income.

“Today, Social Security faces an uncertain future. Social Security projects that it will become insolvent in 2035, putting hundreds of thousands of Virginians at risk of plunging into poverty. In the last week, President Trump has renewed calls to slash Social Security funding, increasing anxiety among many seniors and disabled individuals that they’ll be cut out of the shared vision of dignity and financial security that Americans have worked together on for eight decades.

“As we mark this anniversary, we must reject attempts to cut Social Security funding. Gutting or privatizing this program would undermine its stability, and increase the risks shouldered by individual seniors. Disabled Americans may face reduced support, or lose their lifeline altogether. Instead of overhauling a foundational program that has created good for the better part of a century, we should discuss ways to strengthen it for the future. We must develop new, bipartisan initiatives that protect this program so it can continue keeping seniors out of poverty for decades to come.”

Last month, Spanberger authored an op-ed with U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) defending Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare against persistent calls to dismantle the programs.

In February 2020, Spanberger spoke out against the administration’s attempts to slash Social Security funding by $24 billion in the FY2021 federal budget. In July 2019, Spanberger joined a bipartisan majority of the U.S. House to pass legislation that would make sure Central Virginia workers and retirees receive the benefits from multiemployer pension plans that they’ve earned.

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