US dollars
US dollars Israel news photo: Flash 90

A new report from the AARP (American Association for Retired Persons) warns the drooping U.S. economy is threatening future retirement for middle class workers ages 50-plus.

The issue is one that also affects Americans living in Israel, many of whom receive Social Security benefits upon their retirement through direct deposit into their Israeli bank accounts. More than 30,000 immigrants have come to Israel on aliyah from North American and the UK -- the majority having moved from the U.S. -- since 2002 alone, with the assistance of the Nefesh B'Nefesh organization.

The report, published Tuesday by group’s Public Policy Institute, said that falling incomes, deeper debts and shrinking savings have all contributed to the specter of an unstable future for most aging middle class employees at the tail end of the Baby Boomer era.

The AARP is one of the most powerful lobbying groups in the country, a nonprofit organization representing Americans age 50 and up. With a membership of more than 37 million people, the group has staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Rising health care costs combined with the likelihood that social security stipends will comprise the bulk of most retiree incomes further darkened an already grim picture, the organization warned Tuesday.

According to the AARP, health care costs currently are rising faster than wages. When one takes into account the fact that many people have to pay out-of-pocket for health care due to repeated insurance denials, plus a recent prediction by the Urban Institute that the average retirement income will drop to 73 percent of average wages, the AARP pointed out that middle class retirees may face an uphill battle for survival.  

AARP CEO Barry Rand urged the U.S. government to separate the issues of Social Security and Medicare from the rest of the budget debate.

“We need a full-blown national discussion of how to ensure that Social Security continues to contribute to the retirement security of older Americans in the future,” he told ABC News

“Social Security remains the critical foundation of income security for the overwhelming majority of people... It’s all about people and not just numbers,” he added. “We feel the recent debate in Washington has forgotten that.”