Seniors hit hard with more budget cuts

May 1, 2009 7:14:13 PM PDT
A new round of state budget cuts went into effect May 1 and it will hit many seniors and the disabled pretty hard. Their assistance checks have been cut by $37 a month. It will mean some hard choices.

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Homebound with diabetes, every penny of Susan Cooper's monthly supplemental security income check counts.

But tough times are about to get even tougher.

"They always cut the people that have the least, and I'm one of them," said Cooper.

The state is cutting its portion of the Federal Assistance Program and Social Security checks for California residents will shrink from $907 a month to $870.

It's just $37 but for Cooper, it means deciding between paying for rent and medicine or buying food.

If I don't have the money to pay the rent, they're not going to let me stay here because I want to," said Cooper.

For these seniors it's no game. The state will save more than $594 million from these cuts but the more than one million seniors, disabled and blind people in California who receive SSI, will be directly impacted.

The lunch program at the Florence Douglas Senior Center is already crowded with struggling seniors.

"Once the supplemental reduction occurs you're going to see these meal programs grow substantially," said Florence Douglas Senior Center Director Vicki Conrad.

The $37 cut has Mandy Flowers wondering what she's going to have to cut out to make it.

"Nobody's money is really for sure except the president's. You know he's going to get his check. We don't," said Flowers.

And it has others nervous about what may be on the chopping block next.

"Everything's going up except your check, and then they cut it, said Cooper.

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