Can I die?$?

In the Washington Post today, there was an article that discussed Bush federal budget proposal that included a cut in the $255 Social Security funeral benefit. How did our priorities get so mixed up where you can’t afford to die?.

I don’t have the immediate answer right now but I am working on it. The funeral benefit program was started in 1939 and was designed to help families deal with funeral expenses. The amount was set at $255 in 1952 and, until 1981, the payment was made directly to funeral homes, they said.

You might wonder how in the world this affects you, right? Well, if you have family members whose only income is derived from Social Security and they pass away, then your family will have to work together to pay for the funeral. In 1999, the average cost of funerals was nearly $6,000 so if your family is low-income, then I am sure $6,000 is not readily available and you will have to bring it down a couple thousand dollars. So let’s say you can get a funeral for $2,000, your family will still be looking for any assistance it can. And if you could get $255 from Social Security, it won’t do much, but it will do something.

The article went on to say “Congressional aides said Jo Anne Barnhart, the Social Security Commissioner, had told them during a closed-door briefing on Monday that the $255 one-time death benefit has become an administrative burden, since it is not paid in all cases.” That’s like saying we shouldn’t give out tax refunds since not everyone gets their check. Whatever influence I can muster through my voice, I will speak up for the people whose concerns often fall on deaf ears. It amazes me how helping the poor is described as administrative burdens but tax cuts for the rich are touted as the remedy for everything from curing AIDS to cutting the deficit.
If you do nothing else, speak truth to power when you see injustice. Start a blog, email your Congressman, talk to your family, because it may not do much ($6,000)in and of itself, but it will do something ($255).

Stay up fam,

Brandon

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One response to “Can I die?$?”

  1. Scottish Toodler says :

    Thanks for this link! I missed hearing about this!

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