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Social Security Privatization: A Bad Deal for Hispanic Communities

Of NEA's 2.7 Million Members, Nearly 100,000 Are Hispanic.

Social Security Is Neutral with Respect to Race Or Ethnicity

Individuals with identical earnings histories are treated the same in terms of benefits. However, Social Security Administration statistics show that due to certain demographic trends, Hispanic communities benefit from the Social Security program in several ways.
  • Social Security is the only source of retirement income for 41 percent of elderly Hispanics. In 2002, the average monthly benefit for Hispanic men receiving retired worker benefits was $859, and for women was $619.
  • The guaranteed benefit and cost-of-living adjustments of Social Security are important to Hispanics. An important feature of the Social Security system is its provision of a guaranteed benefit for workers and their spouses, which continues until death, with a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) each year to index for inflation. Social Security beneficiaries cannot outlive the income, and their purchasing power does not erode over time. Because Hispanics tend to have higher life expectancies at age 65 than the majority of the population, elderly Hispanics will live more years in retirement and benefit from Social Security's cost-of-living protections. Hispanic men who are age 65 in 2004 can expect to live to age 85, compared to age 81 for all men. Hispanic women who are age 65 in 2004 can expect to live to age 88, compared to age 85 for all women. Hispanics are protected by the guaranteed benefit that is annually adjusted for inflation.
  • Social Security disability benefits are important to Hispanics. Hispanics have a higher work disability rate than other Americans. While disability data from the Census show that the overall work disability rate was 11.9 percent in 2000, the work disability rate for Latinos was 16.7 percent. Thus, Hispanics are more likely to be in need of the disability benefits that the Social Security system provides. Private accounts would not provide disability protection.

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