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Children's Stake in Social Security

3/19/2008:   Although Social Security is best known as a retirement program, it is also irreplaceable life and disability insurance for young families, according to a new report released by the nonpartisan National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI) and funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

About 6.5 million children under 18--or nearly 9% of all U.S. children--received part of their family income from Social Security in 2005. They included 3.1 million children who themselves received benefits as dependents of a deceased, disabled, or retired parent, and an estimated 3.4 million other children who did not themselves receive Social Security, but lived with relatives who do.

"As policymakers consider ways to balance Social Security's long-term finances through benefit cuts, tax increases, or both, many people forget that children and their advocates have an important stake in the policy debate," said Joni Lavery, coauthor of the report and Research Associate at NASI.

Social Security often makes the difference in lifting children out of poverty. Fully 1.3 million children were lifted out of poverty by Social Security benefits. Moreover, Social Security reduced the depths of poverty felt by another 1.5 million children and their families.

For the full report, press release, and fact sheet, visit the NASI website at www.nasi.org.


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