Hoboken Patch

Seniors, Sen. Menendez Celebrate 75 Years Of Social Security

U.S. Senator Bob Menendez visited the Multi Service Center on Thursday morning

Hoboken Patch — Thursday, August 12, 2010

By Claire Moses

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Birthday parties for 75-year-olds may not sound too special to the seniors at the Multi Service Center. But on Thursday morning a special anniversary was celebrated there, as U.S. Senator Robert Menendez, seniors and several advocates remembered 75 years of sScial Security.

Menendez, who resides in Hoboken when he's not in Washington, emphasized the importance of Social Security and spoke out against any potential privatization. He called it a "great American success story."

"Hopefully I will be with you at the 100th anniversary of Social Security," Menendez said.

Social Security was signed into law by President Franklin Roosevelt 75 years ago, and more than 100 events have been held in the state of New Jersey to celebrate the program, according to a statement from watchdog organization New Jersey Citizen Action, who put on the event on Thursday morning.

Currently, 1,407,600 New Jersey residents receive Social Security, according to New Jersey Citizen Action. Menendez said that 2.7 million more people than ever before have filed for Social Security, some because of the nation's economic problems.

Privatization of the program, Menendez said, would only be "taking a guarantee and putting it at risk... that's not something I support."

Paulette Eberly, 60, who spoke at the event and was there with her seeing eye dog Prudy, said that not a day goes by in which she isn't thankful for her Social Security benefits. Eberly, who has a disability, has been receiving Social Security for about 10 years, she said.

Eberle said she shares the senator's views on keeping Social Security a guaranteed, public service. "I'm terrified," Eberle said about the possibility of privatizing.

According to a document provided by New Jersey Citizen Action, "almost two out of three seniors rely on Social Security for half or more of their income."

Menendez remembered his mother's dependence on Medicaid and Social Security. He said that Social Security provided his mom—who died last October because of Alzheimer's—with "dignity" and "quality of life."

Phyllis Salowe-Kaye, the executive director of New Jersey Citizen Action, also acknowledged that keeping Social Security the way it is—fully funded by payroll taxes—will be a fight. But, just like the senator, she pledged to make sure future generations will be able to take advantage of Social Security, too.

Because, said Eberle, leaving the workforce without enough money to live on "could happen to anybody."

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