Seniors Debate Social Securtiy Benefit Increase, Presidential Debate
By Nadia Crow, Reporter
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Could you use an extra $12 to $24 a month? That's how much social security benefits are expected to jump Tuesday when the government releases cost of living adjustments. It's money going to 56 million retirees across the nation.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics this year alone, food prices, gas prices, and housing costs, just to name a few, have all seen increases. That's why some Eastern Iowa seniors say their issues need to be a topic of discussion at Tuesday's presidential debate.
"I don't think people forget about mom and dad and grandma and grandpa,” said social security beneficiary Burdette Johnson.
But these seniors say they're not looking for a handout; just what's owed to them.
"The seniors helped build this country and you don't treat them like they had no contributions when they were young and vibrant and working,” said social security beneficiary JR Rupert.
69 year-old Corinne Prince and her friends knit as they discuss current events like the slight jump they'll see in social security checks next year.
"Can't do anything special, splurges of any kind cause there's no room for it at all,” said social security beneficiary Corrine Prince.
79-year-old veteran Burdette Johnson says he's lived hand to mouth his entire life.
"I have no nest egg and I have no savings so I work part time and try to maintain,” said Johnson.
That's why he's disappointed with a one or two percent increase.
"They need a stimulus in my opinion. Not only for the senior citizens to pass it around but its trickle down,” said Johnson.
Talk also turn to the upcoming presidential debate with hopes someone will ask the candidates about entitlement programs.
"The political talk is political. What they're going to do is common sense,” said Johnson.
But 68-year-old JR Rupert says common sense means compromise not more partisan bickering.
"We'll see if they can get together and figure something out but they have to start doing something about it or else they're going to go bankrupt,” said Rupert.
Before last year, social security beneficiaries went two years without an increase.
Experts say the increase doesn't completely compensate for inflation. And that's why social service agencies like food pantries and community clinics see a large number of seniors.
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