Seniors react to not getting an increase in Social Security

By Brittany Pieper – email

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) – The Social Security Administration announced Friday that the more than 58-million retirees and disabled Americans enrolled in the program will not receive a cost of living increase for the 2nd year in a row. They say inflation has been too low, but many seniors say they see costs going up every day, and they're worried about making ends meet.

"The cost of food, the cost of gasoline, everything is going up except the paycheck," said Wilbert Williams.

Williams is one of several seniors who goes to the MLK Community Center each afternoon to get a free lunch. He was disappointed to find out he would not receive a cost of living increase in his Social Security check, and said it forces many seniors to make tough decisions.

"You either take a choice of whether I'm gonna buy food today or whether I'm gonna get my prescriptions filled that day. As a senior, you shouldn't have to make that choice," said Williams.

Mary Alice Rountree, the Executive Director for the Caddo Council on Aging, says Williams is not alone. Many of the seniors she works with lost their retirement when the economy crashed, and more and more of them are dependent on their Social Security Check.

"Many of them have already spent down their resources. You know, they have such big medical bills, and they have their prescriptions," said Rountree.

She says she's disappointed by the government's decision, "This country has been spending billions and billions of dollars on so many things. I don't think we should forget our seniors."

She hopes cutting back on Social Security doesn't continue, but with the Baby Boomer generation getting close to retirement age, she can't help but wonder what will happen next.

To make up for the loss of the cost of living increase, Congress will vote on a one time $250 payment in November. However, even if that passes, some seniors say it doesn't cover many of their costs.

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