Reform of Safety-Net Programs

  • GOP challenge: Reforming widely accepted ‘safety net’ programs, By Mark Turnbull, July 19, 2017, Christian Science Monitor: “The failure of Senate Republicans to close ranks on health-care reform this week put on display an old challenge: How conservatives can reform social safety-net programs when there’s a growing acceptance of them – even among Republican voters…”
  • Small tweaks to existing policies could make a huge difference for poor families, By Karen Weese, July 20, 2017, Washington Post: “It wasn’t much — just five bucks apiece — but both boys’ eyes sparkled when Carol Moore told them they could spend it on anything they wanted. ‘Meet me back here in 10 minutes,’ Moore told the boys, whom she’d met a few months ago when they came to her church’s homeless shelter. As the boys set out into the aisles of Walmart, she called after them: ‘Just get something you really want, okay?’ Ten minutes later, they came back and held out their treasure. It was deodorant…”

Social Security and Student Loan Debt

The disturbing trend of people losing Social Security benefits to student debt, By Danielle Douglas-Gabriel, December 20, 2016, Washington Post: “To recoup student-loan debt, the government is leaving people who rely on Social Security with benefits that fall below federal poverty guidelines, the Government Accountability Office said Tuesday.  The number of older Americans defaulting on education loans has steadily increased in recent decades, as many have returned to college or co-signed loans for family members. Unpaid debt has resulted in the government garnishing the benefits of 114,000 people age 50 and older in the past year, more than half of whom were receiving Social Security disability rather than retirement income, the GAO report said…”

Social Security Disability Insurance

The Social Security cash crunch Congress can’t ignore, By Jeanne Sahadi, June 17, 2014, CNN Money: “It’s highly unlikely that Congress will reform Social Security any time soon. But there is a near-term cash crunch in one part of Social Security that lawmakers must resolve in the next year or two. The trust fund for Social Security disability benefits, which is separate from the fund for retirement benefits, is on track to be insolvent — most likely by the end of 2016 but no later than 2017. So unless Congress acts to replenish the fund beforehand, the program will only be able to pay an estimated 80% of promised benefits to 8.8 million disabled workers, plus the benefits paid to their spouses and dependents if the disabled worker was the primary breadwinner. . .”

Elder Poverty Among Women

Why Many Retired Women Live in PovertyBy Melanie Hicken, May 13, 2014, CNN Money: “Gender inequality doesn’t end at the workplace. For many women, the gender gap haunts them well into their retirement years, when far more women find themselves living in poverty. In fact, women are almost twice as likely as men to live below the poverty line during retirement, with single and minority women struggling the most (see chart). On average, women 65 years and older rely on a median income of around $16,000 a year — roughly $11,000 less than men of the same age, according to a Congressional analysis of Census data. And many elderly women rely exclusively on Social Security benefits. . .”