Social Security checks may be shrinking

By Christel Phillips - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - email

LUFKIN, TX (KLTV) - Come 2010 millions of Social Security recipients will receive smaller checks.

"It doesn't seem to be quite fair that we should have to bear the whole brunt of this," said Dimple Walker, who receives Social Security benefits.

83-year-old, Walker works at the Lufkin Senior Citizen Center full time, and, even though she enjoys work, she didn't think she'd have to work at her age.

"As I grew up, we thought that money was ours," said Walker. "That was our savings, that was our future, and it hasn't worked out that way."

And, many other East Texas seniors are just like Walker. Since there will not be a cost of living adjustments for Social Security payments for at least two years, not to mention rising medicare drug premiums, many senior citizens will have to reign in their already tight budgets.

"Don't misunderstand me," said Walker. "I'm thankful for every penny I get, but I live alone and it's not enough to run a household."

The average monthly Social Security benefits for retirees is $1,153 for 2009. And, inflation increases over this decade range from 1.4% to a high this year of 5.8%. It's for that reason many seniors depend on that cost of living increase.

"The things have got to quit going up or they've got to get some money from someplace," said Billie Phelps, a Senior Citizen Center volunteer.

Phelps hopes lawmakers will find a solution to the problem.

"Something's got to be done because more and more people are getting older and living longer," said Phelps.

The government uses the Consumer Price Index, which has been down this year, to measure price increases. Medical Care is not included in that CPI.

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