What are the key differences between the American population now and the U. S. population in 1935, when Social Security was first introduced? Should these differences prompt changes in the Social Security system for the future? Originally, Social Security was not intended to be just a retirement income program, but also includes a disability insurance policy for younger groups (Moody, p. 200). It was originally meant to be a way for people who had paid into the system, and who had helped to take care of others, to be repaid in a small way when they could no longer work.
However, when the original system was implemented, they could not forsee the baby boom or the financial future. The American population today is very different from that of 1935, primarily in its age. The baby-boomer generation has reached or is approaching retirement age, according to social security benefits payout guidelines, and due to increases in medical technology, people are living longer than ever before. Younger generations who are currently paying into the system are significantly smaller populations.
Additionally, many people have begun to view social security income as a primary source of retirement income, not the supplemental source it was originally intended to be, and have failed to plan accordingly. All of these factors, plus the economic state of the nation including our national debt, have serious consequences for the future of social security. As a whole, we cannot continue to draw more money out of it than we are putting into it.
The social security system, particularly regarding when benefits are paid and how much one receives, must be re-evaluated and changed or else social security may cease to exist in the future. 4. Some who favor the idea of transfer of assets from aged parents to adult children to qualify for Medicaid argue that elderly people have a “right to leave an inheritance. ” Is this a “right? ” Why or why not? Who would benefit and who would be harmed if we were to allow that right. Medical spend down has benefits for those who have money – not necessary an inheritance, but not for poor people.
For instance, if rich people transfer their assets at least 30 months ahead, then they are able to apply for Medicaid (Moody p336). They justify this by claiming that if they used their money to pay for their medical and living expenses themselves, they would not have anything to leave their children. However, it is not a “right” to leave an inheritance, nor should it become one protected by law. Having money is not a “right,” it is a consequence of hard work, education, and acting responsibly financially.
We have to remember that Medicaid is for people who fall below the poverty line (Moody p 469). And it must be noted that the original intent behind this is for people who fall below the poverty line because of normal, justifiable causes, like the single mother who had only a sixth-grade education and five children to raise, who was not able to save money for retirement, or the farmer who lived year by year, dependant upon the weather for his living. Giving away your money is not a reasonable or justifiable cause of poverty.
By the same principle that says elderly people have a “legal right” to leave an inheritance, their children have a “legal obligation” to care for them, including their medical expenses if they are able to afford it. And although it may seem like the wealthy people that do this are benefitting their children, in the long run, their children and their grandchildren will be burdened with the costs of the depletion of Medicaid resources and may not have medical assistance when they truly need it.
In addition, burdening the system unnecessarily like this only lowers the standard of care everyone is receiving and means that fewer medical expenses are actually eligible for payment. This may not be a problem for those people who gave their money to their children, as they could always ask them to pay the extra expenses, but the truly poor people will suffer. For that reason, I have to say that it is not the right thing to do. 5. What dilemmas do professionals (social workers, police, and attorneys) face when they come across cases of suspected elder abuse or neglect of elders?
I believe the biggest dilemma professionals face is when the right time to intervene is. Since elderly abuse is very sensitive issue among a family, most of the time the victims do not want to report and/or press charge. For instance, my ex was a police officer and he told me that he knew the victim was aggrieved, but there was nothing he could do because the victim did not want to press charges. Therefore, police will take the perpetrator temporarily, but there is nothing they can do to protect the victim because the perpetrator will go back to the victim. It is a bad cycle.
Another consideration is when there is no proof and the elderly person cannot speak up, like those incapacitated by strokes or dementia. If the person is right, and abuse is happening, taking the elderly person from the abuser and to a safe place is a good thing. If the person is mistaken, however, they could be removing the elderly person from the only family they have, and creating a financial and legal burden for the government unnecessarily. In addition, elder abuse is a difficult thing to define because we don’t always know what limitations an elderly adult has or does not have.
For example, the neighbors may think an older woman whose daughter leaves her at home alone all day is being abused because she is old and alone, but in reality she is perfectly capable of taking care of herself and there is no abuse or neglect going on. On the other hand, leaving an older woman with dementia, who is NOT capable of taking care of herself, alone all day would be considered abuse, but because she never leaves the house, the neighbors don’t see her and no one ever finds out.
Why is it difficult to define “Q” and measure well-being in old age?
I believe quality of life is difficult to define because everyone has their own definition of what it really means. However, there are certain basic guidelines that I think everyone could agree are important to good quality of life, and that apply regardless of age, such as good relationships, ability to do things we enjoy, and at least a modicum of independence. Physical well-being is also important, but I think that we can have physical limitations or illnesses and as long as we have capable, compassionate people to help us get around those, we can still have good quality of life.
Truly, I think it all boils down to ability to do things we enjoy, which is why measuring quality of life and well-being in old age is more difficult, because you are less able to do the things you did before. However, most of us will compensate by doing different things than we did before, and can still enjoy our lives. For example, a grandmother who can no longer quilt with her friends may take up playing cards, and in that way still be sociable and active.