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Re: Social Security and Medicare

•    The Federal rule for subsidized housing rent
•    Cutting cost of living increases for social security

Dear President Obama,

I am a senior citizen, almost 69 years old.  I live on my social security check and that alone.  I also live in a CHA building for seniors in Chicago.

Although I am an educated woman, medical problems brought me to a state I never thought I’d see.  I’ve worked all my life, beginning at age 9 on a dairy farm in Arizona.  At that time I could and did lift 100 pound sacks of grain into bins, helped milk a bunch of cows before and after school, washed the barn, dug postholes for fences, irrigated the field, and all the things done on a dairy farm.  Once I dug out a cesspool.

Because I did the labor of a grown man until I was in my mid-teens, I was left with a bad case of osteoarthritis.  I worked to put myself through college earning both a B.A. and M.A., becoming the only person among my sisters and brothers to get a degree.  I worked as a customer service person, claims adjuster, manager, writer, a business co-owner (until a divorce), cab driver, as an educator in the business world, and consultant.

So how did I end up here?

The usual way – medical issues and medical bills, resulting in spending every cent I saved until I applied for social security just before I turned 63.  At that time I discovered I also had fibromyalgia, a nerve disease in which one hurts all over all the time. I had already had both knees replaced, both shoulder joints replaced, and a lumpectomy for breast cancer, all within a five year period. I also ran out of physical and mental energy.  

Even now I would like nothing better than being able to work again.  But I cannot.

When I applied for social security I had less than $10.00 in my pocket.  I am a proud woman who did not want to live off her children so I did not tell them until after I received my social security check.  The social security person convinced me to apply for disability as well.

Since then, my social security check is my only income.  I depend on it and on Medicare.  I pay for Medicare before I get my check, around one hundred dollars.  

Then I pay for a supplemental to cover what Medicare does not cover, over $140.00 per month currently, and for prescription drug coverage around $36.00 per month.  (By the way, I pay more to cover the 20% Medicare does not cover than I pay for Medicare, which covers 80% of the costs of health care.)

You can see that my social security check has suddenly gotten smaller.

Re: The Federal rule for subsidized housing rent

1.    The CHA looks at my income each year before I sign my next lease, then they adjust my rent, 30% of my gross adjusted income.  They include any cost of living increase in their calculations.  That’s a federal rule. This virtually consumes any  any cost of living increase we get.

While everything else in the world goes up, including co-pays for prescription drugs, food, clothing, and all the other commodities in the world such as a hamburger at lunch at a fast food place, we never see that increase.  It is consumed by the rent increase.

•    Our expenses increase as inflation rises.
•    Our rent increases as well, eating up any money needed to account for the rise of the things in life we need in order to survive, including food and prescriptions.

2.    I ask you to change this rule.  I would like the federal government to make certain the 30% rule does NOT include any cost of living increase we might get.  Otherwise, seniors just fall further behind every year.  

Re: Cutting cost of living increases for social security 

Then there is, of course, the proposed reduction of cost of living increases on already stressed seniors.  

How in any universe is that right?  

Why “trim” the income of seniors?  What does one do without, food, prescriptions?

I am lucky.  I have two loving children who will never let me go hungry or be without the medication I need.  Not all seniors are so fortunate.  Many people in my building have no children or close family.  To whom do they turn?

These are the people who taught the country’s children, served food at diners and 4-star restaurants, helped build buildings – nurses, teachers, construction workers, clerks,  engineers, salespeople, composers, musicians (both classical and jazz), one who skated in the Ice Capades, legal secretaries, and yes, writers.

There are a number of folks in my building walking around without teeth or who have only a few teeth.  Dental care is not included in Medicare.  The county hospital does extractions only, other clinics charge on a not-generous sliding scale, other places charge full price.

A person can die from infected teeth.  Where is the dignity in that?  Why is dental care not included in Medicare?

And now both social security and Medicare seem to be on the negotiating table.  I am totally opposed to this.  Why should seniors (or sick children) pay for the richest among us to get a tax “break?”  

It is unconscionable.  

Seniors have paid the price already, working all their lives and contributing to both social security and Medicare.  And in what universe do children pay the price?  How selfish does one have to be to pocket yet more money on the backs of these folks?  

How much money do the rich have to have to say they have enough?   And the Republicans claim to be Christians.  Clearly none of them have actually read the bible.

I am a Democrat, a Liberal.  I worked to elect you in ’08 and in ’12.  I was happy to do it.  I rejoiced when you were elected, both times.  

Don’t let us down, Mr. President.  Please take social security and Medicare off the table.  Don’t short the seniors and other people in need to placate the far Right people.  

Please remember that when you say you “must make some hard choices” who it really applies to.  For whom is it a difficult?  For whom is it hard?  The answer is not the Senator or Congressperson or President.  The answer is the people who are affected – we will be the ones who suffer.

NOTE: I am having continuing problems with my computer so I may be in and out of contact. But I will read and comment as much as I am able.

Originally posted to Liberal Granny on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 09:15 AM PST.

Also republished by Social Security Defenders.

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