Letter: Workers have a right to Social Security payments
The word entitlement is often looked at as a derogatory term. The debate over reducing entitlements, specifically Social Security retirement, is about to rev up if we can believe the pundits. My argument is not whether we should have or not have SS, but people forget to be entitled we first had to pay for and earn it.
These entitlements usually are defined (by Webster’s) as a right to benefits specified especially by law or contract. A government program providing benefits to members of a specified group; also, funds supporting or distributed by such a program.
What is left off of this statement is qualification. To qualify, one must pay along with their employer, if not self-employed, a percentage of their income their entire working life to qualify (earn the right). To fund it everybody pays SS and when you qualify (age and quarters), you qualify (are entitled) to receive a stipend for life. Sounds very much like an annuity, doesn’t it? But it’s not. Proper insurance policies have rules and, if they are not to your liking, you pass.
Because our government has poorly handled it over decades by borrowing from and expanding coverage, it is in trouble … not for me and my children, but for my grandchildren. Some say the trouble will be sooner. How Congress handles this issue will speak volumes to the truth. If SS were a true annuity, not capable of borrowing from without paying with interest or changing benefits provided, would we even have a debate?
While I believe Congress should leave it alone and fix their own mess, ideas such as means testing (if you don’t need it, you don’t get it) or extending retirement age are out there. If you agree that at retirement you don’t want what you paid for, then opt out, refuse the check or, better yet, donate it to somebody who does. If you are like me and believe that whether Congress believes it’s a contract or not and you have lived up to your part, then call, write, or speak to your representatives. Tell them you have done your part, now they need to do theirs.