Retirement Security

All people deserve to retire with dignity, but almost half of all Americans are not covered by a retirement plan at their workplace. Low- and middle-income families face stagnant wages, increasing costs for life’s essentials, and other structural barriers to wealth-building. EOI advocates for the protection and expansion of Social Security at the national level via Social Security Works, and locally via Social Security Works – Washington. We are also engaged with local allies and stakeholders to design and implement a state-based retirement security program that will help ensure a secure retirement for all Washington residents, and provide a replicable policy template in other states.


A Forced Early Retirement, and Not Enough to Live On

When changes in her contract work at Microsoft timed with with her partner’s need for full-time care, Aganita Varkentine left the workforce earlier than she had anticipated. In order to care for her partner,  Aganita had little choice but to begin her Social Security benefits at age 62, even though she knew her benefits would be higher if she waited longer to enroll.

Today, Aganita has lived almost entirely on her Social Security checks for 15 years. Without this income, “I’d be on the street,” she says.

After her medical and dental premiums, Aganita receives a monthly net income of $1,118. This is $64 less than the average benefit of $1,182.24, and only 110.5% of the Federal Poverty Level. This income allows Aganita to pay for her essential needs but it does not provide a comfortable living. After her day-to-day expenses, medical care, and helping to support her son as he enrolls in SSI Disability Insurance, this small budget is stretched thin.

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Research Feed

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