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Lawmakers Push For Bonus Check For Seniors, Veterans

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Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) (Credit: Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)

Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) (Credit: Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (CBS 2) — With no increase in Social Security, the White House said it’s pushing Congress to give seniors, veterans and the disabled a $250 bonus check.

People at a Forest Hills senior center told CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer they need it desperately, but aren’t convinced they’ll get it.

Money is so tight for Forest Hills resident Claire Leib that she packs up the lunch she gets at her senior center and takes it home to eat for dinner.

“I have to have it for a dinner,” Lieb said. “A lot of us can’t afford to do more than that.”

Seniors at Queens Community House are furious that the Social Security Administration denied them a cost of living increase for the second year in a row – because they know their expenses have risen.

Figures from Congressman Anthony Weiner’s office show that New York City bus and subway fares have risen 17 percent, rent in the city has grown 4.5 percent, and food prices are up 1.4 percent.

Congressman Weiner is backing a plan put forth by President Barack Obama to give the nation’s 58 million seniors a one-time, $250 payment.

The plan will be voted on after the November election. A similar bill died last year.

“I think the chances are better this year, because I think a lot more of my colleagues have been out on the campaign hustings, listening to what seniors say,” Rep. Weiner said.

After last year’s failure, though, some are skeptical.

“After the election, the Republicans will go against it, and they won’t get it,” Forest Hills resident Emanuel Palmieri said.

Baruch College political scientist David Birdsell said the president’s proposal is an attempt to help embattled Democrats get votes from seniors in the midterm elections.

“They know they’re going to be in the ballot box anyway, so they might as well try to make an argument that will have them putting a mark in the “D” column,” Birdsell said.

For now, seniors and the disabled in the tri-state area, and the rest of the country, will just have to wait to see if the promise of more money is actually kept.

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