Join us as we celebrate Hispanic Heritage month.

Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15, by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.

The observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period starting on September 15 and ending on October 15. It was enacted into law on August 17, 1988, on the approval of Public Law 100-402.

The day of September 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September18, respectively. Also, Columbus Day or Día de la Raza, which is October 12, falls within this 30 day period.

The National Committee will mark the month in a variety of way and will also highlight the importance of Social Security and Medicare to the Hispanic population.   For example, did you know?

 Hispanics Rely on Social Security for More of Their Retirement Income

While Social Security is expected to be only one part of a person’s retirement income, many minorities rely on it for a large share. Because Hispanics tend to have lower earnings and less pension coverage than white Americans, Social Security is extremely important for Hispanic retirees.

  •      More than three-fourths (77%) of Hispanic beneficiaries rely on Social Security for at least half their income compared to almost two-thirds (65%) of all beneficiaries
  •     Approximately 55% of Hispanic beneficiaries rely on Social Security for 90% or more of their income
  •     Approximately 45% of Hispanic beneficiaries rely on Social Security for all of their income

 Minorities rely more heavily on Social Security due to a lack of other income in retirement.  Few elderly minorities receive income from pensions and assets.  The greatest disparity is in the receipt of income from assets.

  •      In 2010, 24% of Hispanics received income from private assets, compared with more than 56% of whites
  •     In 2010, 13% of Hispanics 65 years old and over reported receiving income from private pensions or annuities, compared to 28% of whites 65 years old and older

Elderly Hispanics are more dependent on Social Security than others, because they are more likely to be in poverty than non- Hispanic elderly. They are also more likely to have been poor prior to old age than non- Hispanics. Social Security reduces poverty for Hispanic elderly.

     In 2010, 18% of Hispanics 65 years old and older had income below the poverty line, compared to 8% of white elderly.

    If not for Social Security, 49% of older Hispanic Americans would be in poverty.