Commentary By Robin Schmidt
For The Cordova Times
Throughout the month of February, we honor African Americans by celebrating Black History Month. Created in 1926, this event coincides with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln on February 12 and Frederick Douglass on February 14. African American communities have celebrated these birthdays together for over a century.
Honoring our shared history and reflecting on the past is one way we can remember that in America, we believe in freedom and democracy for all. Another shared belief is that we all deserve a comfortable retirement, free of economic hardship. This is part of securing today and tomorrow.
Social Security has the tools to help you plan for your retirement and to apply for benefits online. We also provide disability benefits to individuals with medical conditions that prevent them from working. If the disabled individual has dependent family members, they can also receive payments.
If you or anyone you know is disabled, they may qualify for disability benefits. Studies show that a 20-year-old worker has a 1-in-4 chance of becoming disabled before reaching full retirement age. You can see if you meet our strict definition of disabled and apply for disability benefits at www.socialsecurity.gov/disabilityssi/apply.html.
Widows, widowers, and their dependent children may be eligible for Social Security survivors’ benefits. Social Security helps by providing income for the families of workers who die. In fact, 98 of every 100 children could get benefits if a working parent dies. Social Security pays more benefits to children than any other federal program. You can learn more about Social Security survivors’ benefits at www.socialsecurity.gov/survivors.
Honoring each other begins with fair and equal treatment. Social Security guarantees that, if you pay into the system, you will have the same benefits as everyone else according to your earnings record. This Black History Month, we want to make sure our diverse nation is covered and that no one is left out of the benefits they deserve. We are with you through life’s journey. Get to know your Social Security.
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Robin Schmidt is the public affairs specialist for Alaska for Social Security