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U.S. Rep. Richard Neal discusses Social Security benefits with Springfield seniors

March 22, 2011
In The News

SPRINGFIELD – Seniors were told not to worry about Social Security running out anytime soon during a talk Tuesday given by U.S. Rep. Richard E. Neal, D-Springfield.

The Massachusetts Senior Action Council sponsored the talk at the Hobby Club on Chestnut Street.

"Social Security is important to seniors and future generations," said John Bennett, the president of the Springfield chapter of the organization. " We’ve been reading a lot of stories about what might happened to Social Security and so we wanted to hear from the congressman about what he thinks we can do as an organization in order to preserve Social Security and make sure it will continue for ourselves and the people who currently contribute to the system."

About 40 seniors and some young people gathered to hear Neal speak about the challenges facing Social Security.

"Social Security is not responsible for the budget deficits that America has," Neal said.

He told seniors they can count on receiving their benefits, and told the young people who attended that they will receive benefits as well.

"Young people have been convinced that the benefits will run out before they retire and there is no truth to that," he said. "As it is people will receive full benefits until 2037."

While he acknowledged that unemployment rates have lowered the number of employees contributing to the Social Security system, he said as the economy improves more people will once again put money in.

"The best thing about Social Security is that you can’t outlive it. Every first of the month the certainty of the check arrives and you can plan around it," he said.

Neal said the system works.

"Social Security actuarially works ... with each generation contributing because of the basic fact that in our youth we all pull the wagon because in our senior years we might have to sit in the wagon," he said.

Bennett said he was thankful that Neal was willing to talk with seniors about the current status of Social Security.

"It’s something seniors always want to know about," he said.

Bennett said the Massachusetts Senior Council is a grassroots organization open to anyone, but run by seniors.

"Our purpose is to empower seniors to work collectively in order to improve their lives and preserve their rights," he said. "We also like to keep seniors informed with talks like these."