A closer look at the Social Security Administration’s plan to expand access for underserved communities

Social Security released its new Equity Action Plan that will expand access to its services among underserved communities.iStock

The Social Security Administration’s (SSA) first “Equity Action Plan” aims to expand its services and access to better-serve marginalized communities, according to a press release on the matter.

The plan is expected to reduce “systemic barriers” to SSA services, according to Acting Social Security Commissioner Kilolo Kijakazi, and serve those who are widowed, who have disabilities and retirees, among others. An executive summary of the plan notes that the SSA will “increase collection of race and ethnicity data,” in addition to policy revision and delivery options expansion.

It’s also aimed at supporting President Joe Biden’s equity agenda, signed via executive order last January, requiring federal agencies “to pursue a comprehensive approach to advancing equity for all.”

Those interested in seeing if they’re eligible for benefits can learn more by visiting the Social Security website† If you are preparing for retirement, you may consider taking out a personal loan to pay down any high-interest debt you have. Visit Credible to find your personalized interest rate without affecting your credit score.

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Race and ethnicity to be increased focus for SSA

The SSA says that its new plan will increase focus on race and ethnicity, and expand benefits to a more diverse population.

“Systemic barriers may prevent people who need our programs the most from accessing them,” Kijakazi said. “Our Equity Action Plan will help to reduce these barriers and ensure people have access to our services.”

A few of the changes the plan includes are:

  • Collecting more race and ethnicity data to understand if programs are equitably serving all populations
  • Policy and practices revision to expand options for service delivery
  • Creating equitable access for unrepresented claimants of disability benefits
  • Fewer burdens for people who identify as gender diverse or transgender when applying for a social security card
  • Increasing access to research grant programs among historically black colleges and universities
  • Creating new opportunities for small and disadvantaged businesses

If you are preparing for retirement and looking for ways to pay down existing debt, you could consider taking out a personal loan. Visit Credible to compare multiple lenders at once and choose the one with the best interest rate for you.

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3 ways to financially prepare for retirement

According to late-2021 statistics from the US Department of Labor, just half of Americans have determined how much they’ll need in time for retirement, which the department says is an average of 20 years.

The Labor Department offers a variety of ways to prep for retirement, and the following are just a few that could help get your finances in order.

Boost your savings

The department suggests the top way for Americans to prepare for retirement by saving money.

“If you’re not saving, it’s time to get started,” it said. “Start small if you have to and try to increase the amount you save each month. The sooner you start saving, the more time your money has to grow. Make saving for retirement a priority. Devise a plan, stick to it, and set goals.”

Invest through your employer

When determining how to save, one way is to contribute to your employer’s retirement savings plan. Many employers offer a company match that will add more to savings accounts. Compound interest and tax deferrals also make a retirement savings plan more beneficial than traditional savings.

Pay-down debt

It is important that retirees pay down their high-interest debt before retirement, and Americans can consider using a personal loan to do so. You can contact Credible to speak to a personal loan expert and choose the lender with the best interest rate for you.

Have a finance-related question, but don’t know who to ask? Email The Credible Money Expert at moneyexpert@credible.com and your question might be answered by Credible in our Money Expert column.

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