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Profile: Tyra

Tyra, 23 and a management analyst at the National Weather Service, has already reaped the benefits of Social Security. Although people sometimes assume Social Security is only financially beneficial for individuals 65 and over, Tyra received survivors benefits when her mother died at a young age.

“After I lost my mother to heart failure when I was 15, I began to receive Social Security survivors benefits. My grandmother, who became my legal guardian, did not expect to be raising another child in her senior years in life,” recounts Tyra.

Tyra’s grandmother relied on the monthly Social Security income to supplement her own retirement savings and benefits in order to raise Tyra. Now saving for her own retirement through a federal pension plan comparable to a 401(k), Tyra will never forget the importance of Social Security for women of all ages.

“Mother’s Day is always a very reflective time for me. The pain of not having my mother with me is eased by the warm memories of her and me together and the thoughts of how proud she would be of me today.

“Because of these benefits, I was able to attend college. There was no way my grandmother would have had the financial ability to send me to college, without tapping even further into her own retirement savings. Thanks to the survivor benefits, I have had the opportunity to earn a bachelor’s degree from Howard University and a master’s degree in human services and counseling from Regent University.

“Social Security helped me to secure my future by obtaining higher education. I am so very grateful it was there for me, and it is my hope and prayer that Social Security will remain strong and available for all Americans—generation after generation.”

Due to her positive experience with Social Security, Tyra has told her story at public and press events. She has testified before the Social Security Subcommittee of the House Committee on Ways and Means, and has worked with a number of Social Security campaigns, including OWL’s “Just the Facts Ma’am: The Truth about Women and Social Security.”

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