Seniors on social security are getting a raise, but will it help in a struggling economy?
Starting in January, those who receive social security benefits can expect a 1.7 percent increase in their checks.
KSFY News spoke with some seniors today to get their thoughts.
There was one word heard over and over today, and that was "disappointing."
And here's why, the average south Dakota recipient gets $1058 a month. The 1.7 percent increase comes to about $18 extra a month.
Many of the seniors we spoke with say it's just not enough.
Shirley Reilly is disappointed in the cost of living raise
"The cost of living has gone up more than the benefit that they're going to give us, your health insurance goes up, the cost of groceries goes up, gas has gone up, utilities...," Reilly said.
Reilly says getting by in this economy means knowing how to budget.
"You have to budget, you have to look at, turn off your lights because you can't afford a high utility bill, you watch what you do, you watch your driving so you can make the best use of your gas," Reilly said.
But reilly says there are some things you can't plan for.
"If you have a medical condition, you can't always budget it because sometimes you hav to get medications that are costly and it means you have to spend more than that then you planned. then you cut somewhere else and more than likely in your food," Reilly said.
Dennis Eisnach, president of the South Dakota AARP, says many seniors say the raise doensn't help offset the rising costs of healthcare and prescription drugs.
"Unfortunately, some of the people that are receiving social security, the biggest percentage of their income is from social security," Eisnach said.
Reilly says she feels lucky she doesn't rely completely on social security benefits to survive.
"This isn't my main source of income. I do part time work on ocassion. I have a pension fund that comes in handy now and then but there are things. Not everybody has that to rely on," Reilly said.
Here in South Dakota, nearly 19 percent of social security recipients rely on those benefits for 90 percent of their income.
And nearly half, rely on social security for 50 percent or more of their income.
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