Vt. retirees on fixed incomes work to navigate inflation
NEWPORT, Vt. (WCAX) - The cost of living continues to rise, while those relying on a fixed income struggle to match their budgets.
Consumer prices are up 8.3% from this time last year, leaving many retirees on fixed incomes in tricky situations. Some retirees are returning to the workforce, while others are creating massive amounts of credit card debt.
Susan Agatha Davis is technically retired, but the Newport woman works part-time to supplement her Social Security income. Even with the historical 5.9% cost of living increase in January, Davis is still receiving just $1,100 per month from them.
“Right now I have a $1,400 medical bill for a biopsy because I have a precancerous condition,” Davis explained. “If I have to get surgery for that, I need to figure out where that money is coming from,”
According to AARP Vermont director Greg Marchildon, seven of 10 seniors in the state rely on Social Security as their main source of income. He says the cost of living increase was needed, but not enough to keep up with inflation.
“Vermont is the second oldest state in the nation. We need our lawmakers and administration and other political leaders in the state to be paying attention so we don’t find ourselves in a point of crisis,” Marchildon said.
There are state services like heating assistance and Meals on Wheels. Angela Smith-Djieng with the Vermont Department of Disabilities, Aging, and Independent Living, says both are being used more than ever, thanks to the pandemic. Even though they’re busy, seniors in need of assistance should still be reaching out.
“People tend to cut back when there’s not enough money to go around and that’s not good for health or well-being,” Smith-Djieng said.
If you’re a senior looking for resources and don’t know where to start, you can call the Area Agencies on Aging helpline at 1-800-642-5119.
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