Social Security Increase For 2011 Unlikely

For the second year in a row, the government is expected to announce this week that it won't increase Social Security benefits for 2011.  There are 58 million social security recipients in the US, and thousands of them live right here in Texoma.  According to Betty Brown, Executive Director of Senior Citizens Services of North Texas, many of them have to be very careful with their money.

"What is happening to this particular group of people is they're really stretching their dollars, just as far as it will go," she said.

But their situation could get worse, now that officials have projected there will be no cost of living increase for next year.  Brown wishes there was a way they could at least help the seniors who are scraping the bottom of the barrel.

"I'm even with the water, but if don't nothin' happen, I might sink," said Social Security recipient "Big Ed" Smith.

"We just need that cost of living.  With everything else going up, the prices and everything up, we need it," said recipient Ramona Horne.

To give an example of the strain, the suggested donation for meals served at the senior center is $3, but with no increase in Social Security this year, people are paying about 60 cents on average.  Brown expects that to continue to drop.

"I don't think it's going to be any great change, but I think it will happen," she said.

Horne doesn't rely solely on Social Security, but she realizes how hard this must be on those who do.

"Everything is going up.  I just don't see how they can do it," she said.

"I guess I'll say, they gotta do what they gotta do.  You've gotta roll your sleeves up a little high and go with it," Smith said.

Automatic social security adjustments for inflation were implemented in 1975.  Since then, 2010 was the first year to go without an adjustment at all.

Spencer Blake, Newschannel 6