Celebrating Social Security’s 80th Anniversary

En español | On the morning of Aug. 14, 1935, Americans awoke in a country vastly different from the one we know today. The Great Depression had brought us to the point where, in the words of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, “one-third of the nation [was] ill-housed, ill-clad [and] ill-nourished.” Suffering the most were America’s elderly. Nearly half of our older population in 1935 lived in poverty! At approximately 3:30 on that August afternoon, President Roosevelt signed the Social Security …

Helping to End Poverty, One Person at a Time

“What does the world need me to do?” When Mark Bergel, 51, asked himself that question, his answer was to start A Wider Circle, a nonprofit in Silver Spring, Md., that provides everything from furniture to job training and clothing to support those in need. Now, 13 years later, Bergel, who serves as the organization’s executive director, is on a mission: End poverty in America. As I sort and fold donated baby clothes in the organization’s huge warehouse, Bergel, a 2014 CNN …

How to Find Reward by Working With Those in Need

As Maureen McCarty and I meet with Maria (not her real name), I realize the compounded struggles of the poor. Maria’s English speaking and comprehension are limited. She and her husband are separated. Her son’s health issues complicate her search for work. And at this moment, with area rents topping $1,000 a month, even for a small apartment, Maria needs rent assistance. Can we help her? Each Wednesday morning, McCarty and other finance counselors who volunteer with a Christ Church’s …

More Grandparents Living With Grandchildren Work, Live in Poverty

The first U.S. Census Bureau report in more than a decade on grandparents living with grandchildren highlights growth and diversity, and confirms that, while the trend has slowed some as the economy recovers from recession, multigenerational living is not going away. Fully 10 percent of the estimated 65 million grandparents live with at least one grandchild, up from 7 percent in 1992. “Recent trends in increased life expectancy, single-parent families and female employment increase the potential for grandparents to play …

The Disappearing Social Security Minimum Benefit

Social Security has a minimum benefit? Yes, it’s true. Congress designed the Social Security special minimum benefit in 1972 to help workers who have earned low wages for many years. But today, the benefit helps very few older Americans and unless Congress takes action, the benefit is on the road to extinction. Sophia’s story is typical. She worked for 25 years as a clerk in a factory and doing odd jobs for wages that averaged about $9 per hour (about …

Do a Midyear Checkup on Your Health Care Subsidy

Maybe you thought your work was done once you bought health insurance for the year on one of the government-run exchanges. Not quite. The IRS and other tax experts say now is a good time to revisit that purchase to make sure you’re getting the federal premium assistance you’re entitled to. Whether you’re getting too little – or too much and have to repay it later – there’s still time to contact the exchange and correct any errors for this year. >> Birthday …