Happy Grandparent’s Day! They – and We – Deserve an Expanded Social Security

Nancy Altman, Founding Co-Director, Social Security Works

Mother’s Day has been an official, nationally recognized day for 101 years. Father’s Day became a national holiday 58 years later, in 1972. And Grandparent’s Day, which comes on the first Sunday after Labor Day, became a national holiday in 1978, just six years later. Some joke that every day is Children’s Day.

For a nation that claims it values families, it fails miserably to put its money where its mouth is. There are no national mandates or programs for paid family leave, universal child care, job flexibility or the many other policies that help families succeed.

But one national program that truly values families is Social Security.

Social Security protects all generations. It is the nation’s largest and, despite its modest benefits, most generous children’s program. If a worker dies or becomes disabled, his or her children receive benefits until age 18, and the care giving parent receives benefits until the child reaches age 16. (Children of deceased or disabled workers used to receive Social Security benefits until age 22 if they were in college, university, or vocational school, but the Social Security student benefit was repealed in 1981.)

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