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California's single seniors can't make ends meet
Date:2/24/2009

men).

The very old at risk

A majority of all single elders aged 75 or older were economically insecure, regardless of ethnicity. More than 90 percent of female single renters aged 75 and older who were Latino or Asian had incomes below the Elder Index, as did two-thirds of all white single renters and 85 percent of all African American single renters aged 75 and older.

FPL indicates only half of what is needed

In 2007, the nationwide federal poverty level (FPL), used to determine eligibility for public assistance, was $10,210 for a single adult living alone. According to Elder Index calculations, however, the average minimum income needed by a single older Californian who rented was $21,011.

Seniors could benefit most immediately from more affordable housing, the single biggest expense and one that often forces the elderly to make "untenable choices," according to Wallace.

"If there is little or no money left over once rent is paid, what do you chose in terms of other basic necessities? Do you fill a prescription or buy healthy food?" Wallace said. "Hundreds of thousands of seniors have to make these hard choices every day."

Wallace also urged that older Californians who live alone and are on Supplemental Security Income should receive full food stamps benefits, which would help reduce their food costs. Policymakers should also raise the eligibility levels for programs that pay elders' Medicare premiums, which would reduce the costs of health care, Wallace said.


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Contact: Gwendolyn Driscoll
gdriscoll@ucla.edu
310-794-0930
University of California - Los Angeles
Source:Eurekalert

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