Seniors concerned about debt ceiling effects on social security

If President Joe Biden and House Republicans can't agree to lift the debt ceiling, senior...
If President Joe Biden and House Republicans can't agree to lift the debt ceiling, senior citizens could be among the first to feel the impact.(CNN, U.S. DEPT. OF THE TREASURY via CNN Newsource)
Published: Jun. 1, 2023 at 8:36 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Advocacy groups for seniors, like AARP, don’t know how a default would affect social security and Medicare programs. The uncertainty has seniors across eastern Iowa concerned about entitlements like social security.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the deadline to raise the debt ceiling is now pushed back to June 5, according to a letter written to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R). If an agreement between Republicans and Democrats doesn’t occur then payments to seniors through Social Security could get delayed along with paychecks to federal workers, the military, and federal grants to states.

Dorothy Powers said she plans to go into her savings to make up for a check she expects in the mail. She said she’s more concerned for her granddaughter, who she said is on disability, and other seniors.

“I’m frustrated [and] wondering how she’ll make it without that check,” Power said. “And I wonder about my neighbors in the apartment building they can’t pay the rent.”

Val Wolter said she’s also concerned because she partially depends on money from social security for a variety of bills.

Harrison March, who is the outreach coordinator for Heritage Area Agency on Aging, said the group is closely following the news regarding the debt ceiling and how it may impact seniors. He said the group plans to provide services and work with other groups to empower successful independent aging in an email.

The concerns aren’t universal for seniors like Ruth Stavlond. She said she’s keeping faith a deal will work out and tries to not worry about problems she can’t control.

“I can’t do anything about it,” Stavlond said. “I always figure I have one band-aid and I can’t figure out all the world’s concerns so I’ll just live my life here.”