Everything Going Up: Americans On Fixed Income Struggle With Cost Of Living

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By Marsha Augustin

ELMIRA, N.Y. (WENY) – The rising costs of food, gas, housing, and more are hitting many in their pockets especially hard. But there is one group of adults that are struggling significantly and that’s the older population.

Beth Stranges is the Director for the Chemung County Office of the aging.  They offer services for anyone sixty and over that needs help with retirement or services such as health care, housing, and mental health. She says many on a fixed income are going through tough times, what they are making isn’t meeting their needs.

“That’s one of the biggest challenges as things increase their incomes aren’t increasing when you are on a fixed income so how do we help them,” Stranges said.

She says, “there’s a lot of homelessness right now so I think people are desperate and they’re going to do whatever they need to to keep their house keep their home but we are here to provide resources, legal resources,” Stranges explained.

Another challenge they are dealing with on a day-to-day basis is food insecurity. She says it’s affecting their younger populations as well as the aging. They are seeing a lot more individuals inquiring about food benefits.

“Snap benefits or what is this benefit may be people that would’ve never applied before because there are a lot of individuals that these benefits are really here for but a lot of people don’t know how to do it, don’t know the process,” Stranges said.

Transportation is the latest thing they are providing increased assistance, with climbing gas prices, some may have to forego their medical appointments because it’s become too expensive. Stranges tells me they are stepping in to help.

“If they can’t afford the gas how can they get to the doctor’s office and they don’t have the funds to keep filling their gas tanks if they do have a vehicle so we offer transportation assistance.

There are many services and programs the office of the aging provides to help you make ends meet. They work with the department of social services, housing authorities, and voucher systems including a farmers market coupon to provide healthier food options. That coupon program will begin in July.

For information on programs and services, the Chemung County Office of the aging offers you can visit their website or contact them directly.


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