Westchester Residents Say Every Last Bit Would've Helped

MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. (CBS 2) — Seniors on Social Security are being told to hunker down and get by with what they already collect.

The federal government has all but ruled out a cost of living adjustment for the coming year. It’s the second year in a row benefits have remained frozen at their current level.

CBS 2’s Lou Young was in Westchester County on Monday as seniors prepared to tighten their belts.

In her tiny one-bedroom apartment retiree Lillian Hunt said she could’ve used a benefit hike this year, after consolidating her bills and counting every buck to make ends meet.

“Any dollar would’ve made a big difference. Anything, compared to what I have now,” Hunt told Young.

Social Security said there will be no cost-of-living hike this year because inflation is too low. The folks paying the bills point out, though, that some important commodities have gone up.

“Food, gas, transportation, that’s the most important things you got to get to live by,” White Plains resident Cristine Jackson said, adding when asked how she felt about it, “It’s sad, isn’t it?”

It’s actually a matter of mathematics. The cost of living adjustment is tied to the consumer price index. This is the second year in a row there’s been no hike in benefits. Last year, you’ll recall, President Barack Obama sent Social Security recipients a one-time $250 stimulus check to make up part of the difference. People said it was a big help.

“It came in handy for a last bill,” Ora Mae Wilson of Mount Vernon, a woman who collects cans and bottles on the weekend for extra spending money.

People are doing what they got to do.

“It’s okay by me. We all got to do our part because we’re in debt so far that our grandchildren will never be able to bail out,” said Jim Branco of Mount Vernon.

A cost of living hike would’ve been nice, but tough times are tough times.

Consumer price figures will be officially released at the end of the week.

Watch & Listen LIVE