BOSTON (TheStreet) -- There's a $6.6 trillion gap between the pensions and retirement savings of U.S. households and what they should have to maintain their living standards in retirement -- and the gap is growing.

That is the assessment made in the recently unveiled Retirement Income Deficit report by Retirement USA. Its release is intended to coincide with "Wake Up, Washington!," a "speakout" on retirement security that runs through Oct. 15.

Retirement USA is a national initiative described as "working for a new retirement system that, along with Social Security, will provide universal, secure and adequate income for future retirees." It is convened by five organizations -- the AFL-CIO, Economic Policy Institute, National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, Pension Rights Center and Service Employees International Union.

The Retirement Income Deficit, based on projections of retirement income for American workers ages 32-64, was calculated for Retirement USA by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College.

The $6.6 trillion estimate is "a conservative figure," says Maria Freese, director of government relations and policy for the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare.

"The number should be a wake-up call," she says. "It is a measure of how far behind Americans are in their retirement savings today. Cuts to Social Security, pension freezes and 401(k) losses on the stock market could easily make the Retirement Income Deficit much, much worse."

As part of "Wake Up, Washington," numerous organizations will focus on the retirement income crisis on their blogs, Facebook, and Twitter. On the Retirement USA website, people across the country can voice their retirement security concerns through a story bank. There will also be petitions described as urging "policymakers to focus on the nation's real retirement income problem -- not Social Security, but our patchwork private retirement system."

-- Written by Joe Mont in Boston.

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