Maine Politics

From the Piscataqua to the St. John

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Social Security in Maine

Democracy for America, Dean's grassroots organization has been collecting stories from people whose lives have been affected by the safety net of Social Security. Here you can use a map of the state to navigate through stories from people from Maine. In reading these personal accounts, one sees how much more Social Security is than just retirement insurance that could be replaced by private investment and how deeply it has affected families in Maine. Here are a few examples.

Nelson from Skowhegan writes:
My oldest brother contracted polio when he was seven. There were seven other children in our family and there wasn't much money. When he turned eighteen, my brother began receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Thirty-two years later I can still clearly remember the effect this had on our family. Specifically, we were able to get a phone. More generally, the standard of living jumped. SSI was a turning point in my family's life. It had an enormously positive effect. Currently, both my parents are retired and living on Social Security, which is truly a blessing to them. I don't know what they would have done without it.

Denis from Augusta:
My father died in 1964 when I was 19. My mother had heart disease and could not work. I had two younger sisters 13 and 16. He had only $20,000 in life insurance (his heart disease made him almost uninsurable). Social Security was their only other source of support until I was able to graduate from college and contribute to their living expenses. It's much more than a retirement program -- my parents never lived to retirement age. One died at 44, the other at 50.

Joan from Phippsburg:
I have a sister nine years younger than I. She was just finishing high school when my father died after a long fight with cancer. Because he had started a new life in his 40s, his retirement accumulation was far less than it should have been. Thanks to Social Security, some part-time jobs, and financial aid, my mother, who was just 51 at the time, was able to support herself and put my sister through college.

As my Representative says, "Social Security is promise that should be kept."

Visit the new Maine Politics.


I have a good story: My father paid into Social Security for almost 40 years and died 3 months before his 65th birthday. Because my sister and I were over 18 when he died, we got nothing from Social Security. My mother will be able to collect survivors benefits when she is 62, but because the benefits from her own contributions will be more than she would get from collecting survivors benefits, she will only benefit from what my father paid in for 3 years. That will amount to about $20K. That's something, but my family and families who end up in the same situation would be much better off with personal accounts. 

Posted by George

3/20/2005 10:05:00 PM



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