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Paying It Forward

by Rob Spadafore

In college, students worry about money. High tuition rates, meal plans, housing, and textbooks cost enough for those working minimum-wage or low-paying jobs. With so little cash left over for fun, it’s sometimes frustrating to see taxes like Social Security withheld from your paycheck.

With funds for the Social Security Disability Insurance running short, Social-Security supporters in Congress plan to transfer money from other trusts so benefits are not cut. This is a common fix for the program; it’s happened 11 times before and with little concern. But congressional Republicans are apprehensive to support the reallocation, concerned that the fix is too temporary and doesn’t address the larger funding issues with Social Security.

For students who attend school to get a well-paying career and save up money, it might be tempting to wish to pocket that tax money now and plan on making enough in a career to fund a comfortable retirement later, but Social Security provides benefits to a wide range of people today.

“Social Security definitely should matter to students both for themselves and for older generations who are still living, whether or not they are already retired or disabled,” said Pitt-Greensburg President, Sharon P. Smith.

But most students probably don’t consider planning 40 or 50 years in advance for retirement. They might think that a pension plan alone will cover the cost of retiring.

“Social Security was intended as an insurance against destitution in old age and not as a sole support in retirement. Most pension plans were designed to supplement Social Security.  Thus workers who are approaching retirement as well as those who are already retired anticipate a retirement income that includes a Social-Security payment,” said Smith.

With the current economic climate, taxes such as Social Security often fall under scrutiny. Politicians have long considered the possibility for reform. If it’s such an issue, why not consider doing away with the program immediately?

“Were that Social Security payment to suddenly disappear, these workers do not have the time to save a sufficient amount of money to yield an income that will replace the Social-Security payment,” said Smith.

Signed into effect, in 1935, by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Social Security has long provided aid to the most needy in our country. Through the years, the program expanded, including more recently the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, in 1997. These benefits continue to assist citizens today.

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