Grassroots Voices for
Economic Justice

a project of the Center for Community Change Action

Expanding Social Security

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A national campaign to expand retirement security:In 2011 we brought together the retirement security table with grassroots partners to work on protecting and improving Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Since then, we have organized hundreds of events, published dozen of Op-eds, met with and moved dozens of members of Congress, educated thousands of people, collected dozens of stories, and have done our share of get-out-the-vote activities. In 2013 we launched the Grassroots Ambassador Program to more effectively recruit, train and engage leaders in their local communities.

Check out our White Paper on enhancing Social Security – released in 2014 by the Older Women’s Economic Security Taskforce (OWES) and the Center for Community Change.

Screen Shot 2013-10-26 at 1.00.34 PMWe call for the following expansions to our Social Security system:

  •  Policy makers should create caregiver credit in Social Security for periods of time when a worker has no or low earnings while providing care.
  • Social Security provides critical support to children whose parents are deceased, disabled or retired. We need to build on these benefits by reinstating the student benefits program for young people in postsecondary education programs.
  • Policy makers should improve the current benefit structure so that it more accurately reflects the actual cost of living for seniors by: 1) increasing benefits across the board; and 2) using the CPI-E for calculating annual cost of living adjustments.
  • Social Security provides a special minimum benefit to help improve benefit adequacy for very long term low-wage workers.  We need to build on this provision and make sure that the special minimum benefit is at least 125 percent of the federal poverty line.
  • Social Security provides important benefits for families when a worker retires, dies, or becomes disabled. We need make sure that these important family benefits cover all families, by providing equal benefits for same-sex married couples and partners.


Check out these guides on specific ways to strengthen Social Security through an “Affirmative Agenda”:

These critical improvements will help to ensure that all workers, including hardworking women and low-wage earners, will have more adequate benefits and retirement security as they age.

In addition, we call upon policy makers to ensure that everyone pays their fair share into our Social Security system by eliminating or phasing out the cap on wages subject to the payroll tax. We also call for public policies to achieve and sustain full employment.  Full employment coupled with fair wages, lower income disparities and equal pay for work of equal value will go a long way to ensuring our Social Security system’s long term finances and paying for these proposed new benefits.