by Frederick H. Lowe
The U.S. Social Security Administration partnered with the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation last week to encourage African Americans to use the Social Security Administration’s online financial tools to plan for retirement.
The Foundation, the charitable arm of the Congressional Black Caucus, held its 2015 annual legislative conference September 15th through 20th in Washington D.C. The Social Security Administration installed a booth at the convention promoting its online Social Security Statement with “my Social Security” account.
The website enables individuals who receive or expect to receive Social Security to open an online account to track their annual earnings, to estimate future benefits, to manage their benefits and to get a replacement Medicare card. These are some, but not all, of the benefits that can be found by opening a my Social Security account (see today’s video).
A Social Security spokesperson was unable to say how many people signed up for a “my Social Security” account at the conference.
Social Security income is financially important to African Americans. In 2013, the median earnings of working-age African Americans who worked full time were about $36,000 compared to $43,000 for all working-age people.
Of the African Americans receiving Social Security, 25% of married elderly persons and 55% unmarried elderly persons relied on Social Security for 90% or more of their income, according to the Social Security Administration.
In 2013, African-American men 65 years old and older earned an average of $14,800 annually from Social Security compared to $12,540 for black women.
Although Social Security is the foundation for a secure retirement, people must have other savings and investments. A person needs 10 years or 10 quarters of payments into the Social Security system of work to qualify for Social Security.
Carolyn W. Colvin, acting commissioner of Social Security, spoke at a conference forum titled “Wealth Building in the African American Community.”
U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks, D., N.Y., hosted the forum.
On August 14, Social Security celebrated its 80th anniversary. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act into law on August 14, 1935.