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Seniors’ limited income, modest savings can leave them in poverty

by | Mar 8, 2018 | Ssi Supplemental Security Income |

With the average lifespan rising for men and women across America, the question becomes how does one provide for themselves through old age? Savings are never a bad idea, but what if one is unable to save like they hoped before they reach retirement age ?The retirement age is officially 65 but some opt to take it earlier or later. Disability and other factors can play into how a senior achieves a comfortable lifestyle come the time when they are no longer working.

It’s concerning to hear that a certain number of seniors are living in poverty. Statistically, according to the SPM (Supplemental Poverty Measure), 7.1 million adults ages 65 and older lived in poverty in 2016, which equates to nearly 15%. The Supplemental Poverty Measure reflects available financial resources and liabilities, including taxes, food stamps, and out-of-pocket medical spending and geographic variations in housing costs. This measures more things related to living expenses that other poverty calculations do not take into consideration. SSI Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability are programs that are implemented and utilized for seniors who are unable to work for one reason or another.

These programs are aimed at helping those seniors living at the poverty level make ends meet and live a somewhat comfortable life. A comfortable life would be considered one that allows for housing, food, medical expenses and other expenses that greatly impact seniors. Many seniors have specific challenges like injury or an inability to work that compounds their ability to make ends meet. It’s good to understand just how many of our seniors are living below the poverty level and the programs that exist to offset that.

While there isn’t always a change a person’s health or their ability to work, there is a way to compensate for those disadvantages. Seniors and their ability to live comfortably is challenging with the costs of living rising and their ability to earn a living wage generally decreasing. With dwindling savings on many seniors’ minds, there could be a way to help offset living costs. Federal and state programs exist to help those seniors who need it.

Source:, “How Many Seniors Are Living in Poverty? National and State Estimates Under the Official and Supplemental Poverty Measures in 2016,” March 2, 2018



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