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For Immediate Release

Press Release

New Report On the Importance of Social Security to African-Americans


To mark the end of Black History Month, Social Security Works and SEIU have teamed up to release a new report on the importance of Social Security to African-Americans. The report can be viewed at:

Included in the report are personal stories from Tanisa Smith-Symes, who benefited from Social Security survivors' benefits after her father died when she was only three, and Tonya York, who has been her sister's primary caregiver for over 20 years and relies on Social Security to live with dignity. Smith-Symes, York, and Social Security Works Legislative Director Jasmine Jefferson are all available for print, radio, and television interviews to discuss the report.

Key facts:

  • In 2014, Social Security benefits lifted 1.3 million African Americans aged 65 and older out of poverty.
  • In 2012, Social Security benefits represented 90 percent or more of the incomes of nearly half (46.4 percent) of African Americans aged 65 and older.
  • Social Security disability and survivors’ benefits are particularly critical for African Americans, who are more likely to become disabled or die while their children are still minors.


With 2 million
members in Canada, the United States and Puerto Rico, SEIU is the
fastest-growing union in the Americas.
Focused on uniting workers in healthcare, public services and property
services, SEIU members are winning better wages, healthcare and more secure
jobs for our communities, while uniting their strength with their counterparts
around the world to help ensure that workers—not just corporations and
CEOs—benefit from today's global economy.

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