Social security looks set to be a big issue in next year’s presidential elections, after members of the public flocked to a free forum on the issue, hosted by the office of Republican Gabriel Giffords in Tucson Arizona.
Latest statistics show that some 10,000 people a day are signing up for Social Security.
The information session, co-hosted by the Tucson-area Social Security offices and the Direct Center for Independence Inc, lasted for almost two three hours and audience members waited their turn to have their questions answered.
"Lot's of people, perhaps you're one of them, have lost their jobs," Gifford's aide, Dan Frey told the audience.
Frey said the recession means that there are growing numbers of people on Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) also.
"You're getting up there in years," he told the group suggesting they might want to consider SSI.
"You're having a harder time doing the work you've always done, especially if it's physical in nature and you need to apply for disability benefits."
He spoke about the various steps involved with claiming disability, reminding the audience of the bureaucracy involved.
Social Security has been an important issue to the office of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
“I am dedicated to strengthening Social Security's long-term finances so that it continues to provide a guaranteed base of retirement, disability and survivor's income for current and future generations.
“Seniors have put in a lifetime of hard work, helping to make our economy grow and make our nation great. I refuse to play games with their security and well-being,” Giffords wrote on her website.
Giffords is making a miraculous recovery having been shot in the head a mere five months ago during an outdoor public address.
Her husband, Commander Mark Kelly returned last week from the final mission in the space shuttle Endeavour.