Seniors feel Social Security pinch - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Seniors feel Social Security pinch

Senior Citizens at Kapahulu Center Senior Citizens at Kapahulu Center
John Rother John Rother
Joyce Paea Joyce Paea
Seniors play a game of Mahjong Seniors play a game of Mahjong

By Jim Mendoza - bio | email 

KAPAHULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - At the Kapahulu Center, senior citizens socialize over friendly games and sing-along's.

They're some of the 220,000 in Hawaii on Social Security and on notice not to expect a bump in their cost of living benefit.

"This is the second year in a row where's there's been no COLA increase," AARP executive vice president John Rother said.

He said the inflation rate's too low to trigger an increase next year.

That means Joyce Paea's $1,200 a month Social Security check won't be going up. But her expenses will.

"The cost of food has gone up. I'm checking the ads. And I'm very frugal. I never buy anything unless it's on sale," she said.

Nationwide, the no COLA increase affects more than 58 million Social Security recipients.

In Hawaii, one in seven receive Social Security.

Paea said two straight years without an increase is two too many.

"The first year -- okay, nothing. Second year -- wow!" she said.

"Seniors are pretty experienced already in trying to stretch the dollar," Rother said. "Many of them have tried to make the adjustments and cuts that they can."

To compensate, Congress will vote on a bill to grant a one-time $250 supplement to seniors.

If it passes Paea said it'll help but it won't pay all the bills.

"When is it coming? I'm sure a lot of seniors are waiting for it," she said.

The average Social Security payout is $1,000 a month.

For one in four in Hawaii the check is their sole source of income.  And they won't be getting a raise.

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