Social security cuts worry local seniors

CNJ staff photo: Liliana Castillo Douglas Smithers, president of the Clovis AARP chapter, said he thinks a one time $250 payment to seniors will help ease the pain of no cost of living adjustment next year.

By Liliana Castillo: CNJ staff writer

Thursday’s announcement by the Social Security Administration that there will be no cost of living adjustment for 2010 had seniors at Clovis’ three centers buzzing.

Staff at the senior centers said it was the topic of conversation all day Friday.

Ann Howe, 80, said not getting a raise hurts.

“Everything else goes up. Gas goes up, utilities go up, food goes up. I find it very difficult,” Howe said.

Howe said she doesn’t think she’ll need to cut back on anything.

“I’m one person. I don’t need too much. You just have to watch your pennies and not spend too much,” she said. “Right now, I can’t even take a paper because I’m not spending money on that.”

Eadie Mulesky, 92, said she’ll end up cutting back on the type and amount of food she buys.

“It’s just me. I’m extravagant about food. That’s where I spend most my money,” she said.

Both women depend solely on Social Security.

Larry Gouker said he and his wife Patty don’t know how they’re going to adjust. He also doesn’t agree with the possible one time $250 payment to seniors that President Obama is pushing.

“I think that’s really stupid because it will probably add to our deficit which we’re trying to stay away from,” Gouker said.

Howe said the payment isn’t enough.

“As far as I’m concerned, they can keep it. It’s not going to help me any. I would rather have the increase,” she said.

Douglas Smithers, president of the AARP Clovis chapter, said he believes the $250 payments will stimulate the economy.

“Us seniors can always use more money. We’re on a limited income so when we get extra money we’re going to spend it,” he said. “Every little bit helps.”

Smithers said he doesn’t know where the government will get the estimated $13 to $14 million it will cost to give seniors the extra $250.

“I don’t think it’s really a good idea. We’re too far in debt as it is. And it’s not going to get any better,” he said. “But I think we deserve it.”

“The rich keep getting richer and the poor keep getting poorer. That’s us seniors,” Howe said.