Rockin’ the Labor Force – Your Stories

September 6, 2016 • By

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Last Updated: September 6, 2016

labor dayLabor Day is a turning point for many people. We consider it the end of summer because many schools fill with students in September. Also, many fall sports begin with Labor Day weekend.

Some of you may have celebrated the holiday by beginning to think about exiting the labor force — and beginning your retirement years. Individuals born in 1950, especially, may be thinking about it because they reach their full retirement age of 66 this year. Who are they, these folks born in the year Elvis Presley had his first job — as an usher at a movie theater?

These youngsters arrived the same year as several “firsts,” the comic strip Beetle Bailey debuted, the first laugh track was used on television, and the first 500-mile NASCAR race, the Southern 500, was run at Darlington Raceway in South Carolina. More of them were named James, Robert and John, or Linda, Mary and Patricia than any other names chosen that year.

After completing school, the men may have earned the 1968 median wage of $7,700, and the women might have brought in $4,500. They likely paid about $130 each month for rent. Other costs, such as gas, averaged 34 cents per gallon, and going to see a movie would have cost them $1.50.

What transition did Labor Day bring to your life this year? Social Security is with you through life’s journey, and its transitions. If you are thinking about retiring soon, visit to get started.

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About the Author

Jim Borland, Assistant Deputy Commissioner, Communications

Jim Borland, Assistant Deputy Commissioner, Communications


  1. tony

    Social Security disability is the early retirement. Many people are applying for disability and leaving the work force. The SSA makes it so easy for people to collect disability for back pain and mental illness.

    The lazy disabled people don’t even have to work a part-time job. If you can’t work a full-time job, then you are disabled. The SSA doesn’t even look at jobs in the national economy that are part-time.

    • ata

      SS looks at being constructively employed, not whether or not you are full or part time. If you are a brain surgeon and work one day a month making $3000.00 you are employed constructively.

      • tony

        A brain surgeon wouldn’t be on Social Security disability. They have private Long Term Disability and Social Security disability will be offset where they wouldn’t get anymore money by being on Social Security disability.

        Most of the people on Social Security disability are poor. When you are stuck in a dead end job making close to minimum wage, it is better to be on disability. You can’t even save money to put in a 401K so your employer could match.

        When you add up all the benefits from SSI, Medicaid, food stamp, and Section 8 housing, it is better than working a minimum wage job.

      • tony

        The SSA denies about 3 million applications for disability each year. This is not a small hand full of lazy people applying for Social Security disability who are not disabled.

        3 million get denied, but hundreds of thousands of lazy people get approved.

        • Johnny D.

          I just moved out of a house that was owned by a family friend. Him and his brother both are collecting SSDI. This guy and his brother stated that their joints hurt so bad they could’nt work.
          He was able to buy a New house, and had stupid friends, like myself paying the payments every month, until I found out, Then I packed up and left. They continue to live and nobody does anything to stop them.

          • tony

            The lazy freeloaders on SSDI know how to make extra money legally. They can rent out their house if they are on SSDI.

            You have to continue to pay taxes to support them.

          • tony

            If someone keeps on appealing their disability denial, then they might get approved eventually.

            The two brothers won their appeal and got a huge backpay check to buy a house.

            It is not hard for the lazy freeloaders to get approved for disability.

        • tony

          The Disability Determination Service (DDS) has an accuracy rate of 97% or better. The ALJs should only approve 3% of the total approved application. The ALJs are approving 30% of the total approved application. Millions of lazy freeloaders are approved through the ALJ.

  2. Bill

    Well let’s see. I worked for almost 45 years and saw job after job eliminated.

    I saw pensions disappear.

    I saw salaries remain at 1970s levels while CEOs raked in millions. Those same CEOs more often than not tanked many of the companies where I worked.

    Were they punished? Yes. With multimillion dollar golden parachutes.

    I saw fringe benefits go away.

    I saw the disappearance of health care (not that there is any in the United States); only health insurance. Treating my well being like it was a household commodity.

    I saw the end of organized labor and “right to work” (aka “starve”) laws flourish.

    I saw the emergence of a new dictatorship: the workplace. In a nation that makes bellicose proclamations about being the land of the free.

    I don’t miss working. Being held captive like a rat on a treadmill. And treated much the same.

    When you’re old, you’re considered washed up and no longer of value. You are discarded like old rubbish. No gold watch, No gold pen set for retirement. Just shown the door.

    Or worse, you’re a threat to that dictatorship because you won’t work 50 hours and accept getting paid for 40.

    You’ll balk at not getting breaks or lunches.

    Or paid holidays.

    Or being on call 24/7 even though you’re an hourly employee.

    The really sad thing is how many workers accept these gulag conditions and actually defend employers who practice them. I think it’s called the “Stockholm Syndrome.”

    No wonder the civilized the world has left the United States far behind in its treatment of workers.

    • ata

      It sounds like you were mentally “washed up” at an early age. How sad.

      • Bill

        No I just got tired of being treated like a slave.

    • Marc

      You are absolutely correct.

  3. AJC W.

    My lifelong goal has been to have a job, and be a productive and useful and TAXPAYING member of society. My unusual disability appears to have squashed that goal, which is a shame – as I’d have made a very productive and creative employee. I believed education and a long list of honors, awards and scholarships would turn the tide and smash the barriers which stood between me and a successful career. Instead I do my own research and write blogs on history,health behaviors, forensics and the human brain, under various nom de plumes. I’ve seen my work turn up on websites without my permission, and often without attribution. I also do geneology – focusing on the historic
    time period the people lived in, and patterns of disease and inherited genetic anomalies within a family. You’d think there would be some interest in this – not to mention the fact that I’m a survivor of experimental brain surgeries which left me mute, fearless, and embarrassingly curious about humanity in general. Unfortunately, most employers equate an inability to speak with an inability to THINK, or write, or be productive. I should be grateful that I was able to secure Social Security Disability. If it weren’t for my Father, I would not have health insurance — Obama Care is too expensive, and would limit access to the specialists required (unfortunately, there is only ONE specialist in this State, and he has a waiting list 3+ years long!).
    Hey – I’d give it all up in a second for a decent paying job.

  4. Manuel S.

    At the age of 70 I now look back at my working years from doing manual labor in seasonal jobs from the age of 7 with my adopted Grandmother. As a teenager I worked in packing sheds, in the fields picking grape, carrots, onion, cutting apricots, picking figs, peaches, pears,tomatoes, pitching watermelons, rolling raisins getting paid by piece meal, and prepping houses for painting to painting homes with an uncle, while repairing bicycles and selling them for our church organization. My Grand mother passed away in 1964, and I joined the United States Army, as an intelligence specialist I served in Athens Greece, Italy, and ended up a machine gunner on the 155 helicopter assault team in Vietnam, came home an alcoholic, guilt ridden, angry, with PTSD and a fractured spine depressed because the Veterans Administration Medical Doctor told me that the V.A. would not be able to do surgery of my spine because they would not be able to guarantee that I would ever walk after the surgery. My marriage to a real Sweet Heart nearly came to an end after three separations. In the mean time after 13 jobs I managed to hire out with the Local Mental Health Program in which I began to excel in my work, was taken in by several professional therapist who prepped me for Clinical work and a near social adoption by our president and CEO who saw potential in me and promoted me to Psychiatric Social Worker. Nine years later I moved on seeking to improve the educational and social experiences for our two daughters we moved to San Diego where I entered a Second Career in Employment Counseling of Disabled Veterans. Now Fourty Seven years later I am preparing to Retire from state service with three excellence awards and satisfaction that I was able to give back to the people of San Diego County in the social services arena. On Social Security, and still working I look forward in developing a third Career Specializing in Vocational Counseling. The road has been rough, challenging, but rewarding in many ways. I hope that my story will inspire some of you to try something else in life. If where you happen to be at this point in time seek professional assistance and do for yourself what no one else can do for you ” Think About A New Horrizon ” something that you really enjoy, and give it your best shot. We Love you America.

    • Tessa

      Ultimate HD … Ultimate HD Superbowl. Great summary of High Deitnfiion. I’ve done a good amount of research on this. best way I can explain this to my parents is: HD is a bigger picture to accommodate for the larger TV sizes made today compared to the smaller, squared TVs that used Standard Definition. Was this answer helpful?

  5. tony

    I exit the labor force and collect the free Social Security disability money. It was very easy to get for a mental illness. I am to lazy too work. Rent, gas, etc. all increased, but we haven’t seen a COLA raise.

    • Retiree

      If you are too lazy to work I really don’t understand how you managed to qualify for social security disability. People like you are the ones that ruin social security.

      • ata

        Faking a mental illness is easier than you think. And really, a person that lazy has to be a little nuts.

      • tony

        Lazy people will find a way to get out of work and get disability.

        It is hard for the SSA to catch lazy people because they don’t work or do anything around the house. A CDI unit investigator following them all day will come up empty handed.

      • Marc

        He didn’t. He is not on disability. He’s a lying troll trying to get a rise out of everyone. It is FAR from easy to get SSDI for mental illness, and by the way, it’s not easy to get SSDI with ANY disability, anyway. Anyone who says all it takes is a doctor’s note, or that you can just “fake” it, or that there are “millions” of people faking it because they’re too lazy to work are 1) rotten liars; 2) have absolutely no idea what they are talking about; 3) are too lazy to bother even reading the hundreds of pages of requirements it takes to even apply for SSDI that can be found right here on this website; 4) and are also so incredibly stupid that they get all their information about Social Security and everything else from the news and the equally stupid, self-serving lies of Republican politicians who have been trying to get rid of Social Security since it started – and the stupid troll morons are dumb enough to believe it. Sheesh.

  6. Mike M.

    I am 55 years of age. As a matter of fact, I spoke with a neighbor on Labor Day weekend and told her that I joined AARP at the age of 50 because the AARP folks are my “mentors for retirement”. They ENJOY life, they do not see themselves as “old”, they try to live life to the fullest in their CURRENT state, my idea of retirement. Some of the members even plan their vacations around the city where the next AARP convention is held, and volunteer at the conventions. As current and future transitioning retirees, let’s not think about the way things WERE, let’s think about the way things ARE, like many healthy retirees do, and live life to the fullest in retirement, the best we can.

    • Janice

      I like your post! I am turning 65 next month and still can’t believe how that happened! My oldest son is 45… gee… I am only 45, at least that’s how I feel.
      Staying active when you are young brings the best benefits when you are older. Staying active and trying to live a healthy lifestyle cuts down on many of the medical expenses that people face as they age. I was a very young parent and struggled to make sure my children had housing, food and clothing so I know that you can achieve a healthier body on not a lot of money. Keep your mind positive and believe in yourself!

  7. Mikifinn

    I grew up with the inventions of Radio TV and the computers being brought and used by individuals and business. I lived through Vietnam Korean and Iraq wars. I saw the assassin of JFK k8lled on TV. I mourned the killing of JFK RFK and MLK Jr. I worked from the Age of 18 through 62. I hope I survive on Social Security. Since I did not save for my retirement. I hope American’s have a better chance than I did to be able to but food pay rent and die secure with a proper burial. I cannot stand that politicians are given taxpayer salaries for not doing what is best for the American people.

    • Mike M.

      Voting is the means for the people to attempt to elect officials who will do the right things, according to one’s own ideals of “what is right”. This is a built-in feature of a democratic government.

      • Johnny D.

        That right there is what we are trying to get across to the ‘provider’. Talk is cheap and actions are louder. Right?
        This money belongs to us, the people who paid in all of thier working lives. PERIOD

    • Dale

      it makes me sick that the majority of politicians are there for the money (as well as benefits for life), and pretend to care about the American people “on camera.

      • ata

        Run for office and be less sick then.

  8. Shirley

    Yes they really were the good old days. It is so hard this day and time to make ends meet. With groceries, medications, rent/mortgages going higher its hard. It would be nice if seniors citizens, disability people, veterans could have help in their incomes to make life a little easier in life without stressing out.

    • Tony S.

      SSA owes beneficiaries a 3% COLA CY 2016. This can be expressed as either the lower cost option of backpay for a 3% COLA CY 2016 + 3% COLA from the 2015-16 rate or the higher cost option of 6% COLA CY 2017. Using 2015 annual report estimates a 3% annual COLA for 2016 it can be estimated that no COLA decision robbed OASDI beneficiaries of an estimated $27.5 billion and SSI beneficiaries $1.7-2 billion. For 2016 the
      combined OASDI Trust Fund were estimated to save only $15.7 billion in
      assets. Because all the details regarding the COLA haven’t been worked
      out, a six percent COLA in 2017 can be estimated to increase 2017
      benefit spending that already accounts for a 3% COLA by $28.6 billion,
      net asset increase is estimated to be $31.1 billion. The United States
      should be able to afford social security beneficiaries a 6% COLA 2017
      to guarantee future generations a 3% annual COLA, without any need for
      new tax revenues. Perhaps the United States will actually make a withdrawal from the $2.9 trillion OASDI trust fund, without discriminating against the small size of the DI trust fund. Or perhaps the United States shall tax the rich the full 12.4% OASDI tax rate on all their income and all our hard work will be for generally accepted accounting principles (gaap)?

      Your 24 section Social Security Amendments of January 1, 2016 and Summer Solstice Instruction HA-6-6-16 as edited, are done

      • Retiree

        Give these people about $100 worth of SNAP benefits because some of them barely have enough to buy food and pay their mortgage. I could use some of that money too.

      • ata

        Lot’s of COLA’s in your answer. However, the increases are determined by the inflation index not your made up 3%. If you don’t like the law as written, write your representative and stop flapping your gums here.

        • Seahorse

          Representatives don’t care about us, they care only about themselves as they get raises they vote in for themselves. SS & SSI could be increased if they would stop giving aid to our enemies.

          • maria

            That is true

        • Johnny D.

          I see your dreaming of a day when writing our representatives will bring results that will be a step in the right direction. I was upset when I found out that my Social Security was much less than if I retired with Social Security Disability Insurance. This after I paid for 41 years of Credit to my account. Now my mandatory Health Insurance Premiums cut $113.00 out of that plus my 102.00 for supplemental payment
          leaves me with almost enough to live on.

          • Tom

            So why do you re-elect incompetent politicians? Why don’t you organize mass visits to town hall meetings and get into the news? Why do let them get away with their neglect of the general population on issues like real jobs, income inequality, etc.? In a democracy who really runs the country…you or them? Writing on this blog is a way to express yourself, but it actually solves nothing. Democracy is yours once you decide you have had enough and start to do what you can to get it back. Get money out of politics, restrict lobbying and get politicians to work 40 hour weeks rather than spend 3 days a week soliciting money from rich people and corporations who they really serve instead of you!

    • Vickie P.

      Amen to that. Being disabled means being disabled from paying your bills on time, to deciding whether you want to eat or get your medications….

  9. John E.

    Please, SSA recipients are normally retired, and/or disabled. Reading news like this for benefits providership companies and SSA recipients can be life-threateningly stressful. Thank you again, but good news anyway.

  10. Collyn

    Ah, the good old days!

Comments are closed.