March 19, 2013
The Frances Perkins Center is launching a statewide initiative, The Social Security Stories Project, to bring the experiences of real people to the forefront of the debate about Social Security. Almost 80 years after its creation, Social Security is the most significant anti-poverty program in the nation. Yet little attention has been paid to its success. Current conversations about the program are driven by competing actuarial arguments and misinformation.
Since 2000, Mainers have become increasingly reliant on Social Security. The statistics are startling: 22.6 percent of Maine’s population received Social Security in 2010, a percentage higher than the national average. In addition, Social Security is the only source of income for one-third of Maine residents aged 65 and older.
But these statistics fail to reveal the significant role that Social Security plays in helping Maine seniors to live with a measure of independence and dignity. Just as Frances Perkins (Secretary of Labor 1933-1945) used people’s stories to advocate for enacting social insurance programs, the Frances Perkins Center will collect stories to bring the actual experiences of Social Security recipients to policy discussions about the program.
Kate McCormick will be the Social Security Stories Project Coordinator. McCormick, a resident of Newcastle and an experienced journalist, will interview people to hear their stories about Social Security.
The Social Security Stories Project will officially begin later this month in Lincoln County, the oldest county in the state and the location of Perkins’ ancestral home. Over the next year, the project will expand throughout the state, including Aroostook and Washington counties. Stories will be shared online and in print.
If you are interested in sharing your story or would like to have someone speak to your organization about the project, please contact the Center at 207-563-3374 or info@FrancesPerkinsCenter.org/.
The Social Security Stories Project is supported in part by funding from AARP.
The Frances Perkins Center is a non-profit organization whose mission is to fulfill the legacy of Frances Perkins, principal architect of the New Deal, by continuing her work on social and economic justice and preserving for future generations her nationally significant family homestead.