(PA) Casey: Congress Must Strengthen Retirement Security for Women
Casey Introduces Bill to Expand Social Security Benefits
Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, introduced the Surviving Widow(er) Income Fair Treatment (SWIFT) Act during a committee hearing on how to help Americans achieve financial security in retirement. The SWIFT Act would expand Social Security benefits by fixing outdated and arbitrary restrictions that prevent many recipients, particularly women, from maximizing their benefits.
“For many seniors and people with disabilities, Social Security is the difference between being able to afford housing, food and health care or going without," said Senator Casey. “Americans deserve better, more secure retirement options and we must start by strengthening Social Security—the backbone of our retirement system. I introduced the SWIFT Act to increase Social Security income for women who are most likely to end up in poverty.”
Social Security is an essential, and sometimes the only, source of income for older adults and people with disabilities. Poverty rates for widows, widowers and surviving divorced spouses, the majority of whom are women, are higher than poverty rates for other Social Security recipients. If the SWIFT Act were in effect today, it would increase Social Security income for more than 1 million of these Americans.
Linda K. Stone, of Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, testified at the hearing about her experiences as a volunteer fellow with the Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement (WISER) where she helps educate women on how to prepare for retirement. Linda discussed the unique challenges that women face in building and maintaining adequate finances that will last through retirement. These challenges include lower wages, time spent outside the workforce caring for loved ones and longer life spans. “We need to strengthen our existing programs where possible. That means focusing in particular on Social Security, Medicare, employer-sponsored retirement programs and individual saving initiatives,” Linda said.