Monday, October 11, 2010

Protecting and Preserving Social Security for Generations

Last week, Generations United was honored to be invited to testify before the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security on Protecting and Preserving Social Security for Generations. Unfortunately due to other pressing Congressional priorities, the hearing was cancelled. However, GU’s written testimony was distributed to the entire Ways and Means Committee and the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, which is charged with identifying policies to improve the current fiscal situation and to achieve fiscal sustainability over the long run.

Our testimony emphasized that Social Security lifts more children out of poverty than any other Federal Program and is a promise to all generations that must not be broken. It was founded on the belief that those who work long and hard should not become destitute due to retirement or disability, nor should their families suffer economic insecurity in the event of early death. Social Security not only protects older adults, it protects children through survivor’s benefits, retirement benefits, disability benefits, and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Social Security is especially critical for grandfamilies, families where children are being raised by grandparents or other relatives. As one grandparent caregiver said, “Without it, we’d be living out of my car.” More than 6.5 million children across the country are living in households maintained by grandparents or other relatives.

GU urges Congress to look at ways to improve the adequacy of Social Security by restoring the student benefit, improving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and exploring ways to change the family cap and grandchild benefit to better support non-traditional family structures such as grandfamilies.

GU will continue to advocate and protect the intergenerational commitment embodied in Social Security and we’ll continue to build off the momentum created by our Social Security For All Generations Call-In Day, cosponsored by AARP, Child Welfare League of America, Children's Defense Fund, Grandfamilies of America, Easter Seals, National Committee of Grandparents for Children's Rights, North American Council on Adoptable Children, and Voices for America's Children. which garnered 4,600 calls to federal lawmakers stressing the importance of Social Security for all ages, and our informative testimony.

To read the entire Social Security testimony and stay informed visit our Social Security page or download our new fact sheet about Social Security's importance to grandfamilies (grandparents and other relatives raising grandchildren).

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Thank you to all the abuelas (and abuelos) out there!

Abuelita, Nana, Mima, Lita, Abucha, Mama, Abue. These are all ways in which to say Grandmother in Spanish. There are probably others I missed, never mind in other languages. I myself used to call my maternal grandmother Mama Nati (short for Nativity because she was born on Christmas, may she rest in peace).

I had the pleasure of watching an amazing film about grandmothers last week, For the Next 7 Generations. This film tells the stories of thirteen indiginous grandmothers from all over the world who had never met, but came together because they believed it was up to them to share their sacred wisdom in order to save Mother Earth and preserve it for those who came after them. The grandmothers are from all over the world, Tibet, Africa, Alaska, Canada, South America, even Mexico and Nicaragua. In one scene the grandmothers came together and a girl of about nine years made a short movie about them, showing why it was that they came together in the firt place. It was a very touching film and I don't want to spoil it further, but I hope everyone can take the opportunity to watch it for themselves.

There are over 2.5 million grandparents raising their grandchildren across the country. 19%, or almost half a million, of them are Latino. Nationally, over 6 million children are being raised by their grandparents because their parents are not able to. This is a tremendous endevour filled with many hardships, but also love and joy. It's no easy task for anyone involved and these grandparents need the support to be able to do it. There are groups all over that are there to lend a hand, and one such example is in Arizona. Arizona's Children Association has several KARE Family Programs throughout the state to serve grandfamilies, several are in communities with high numbers of Latino populations. They offer support groups, education referrals, legal resource information, assistance with completing paperwork, and much more.

It's been my experience that Abuelas have been held in high esteem and affection. It's when they take on a much more significant role, like that of a primary caregiver, that it becomes clear how vital they really are.

For more information on Arizona's KARE Programs visit
For more information on the film about the thirteen indiginous grandmothers visit