CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) — Proposed federal cuts as a result of the debt ceiling negotiations has many older adults concerned about losing benefits they rely on. Cuts to programs like social security and additional requirements for food stamps are on the table as negotiations over spending in the debt ceiling talks continue. This has many people, especially seniors, very concerned.
We are less than a week away from the June 1st date Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen calls the hard deadline to raise the debt ceiling or risk default, while lawmakers continue the push and pull of negotiations around spending and proposed cuts. Some of these cuts include programs that many older adult depend on.
Springfield resident Paul McKenzie is worried, he depends on Social Security, “I’m concerned because I’m on Social Security right now, this is all I got to live on. We worked hard all these years, you know? We put in our time, we contributed to Social Security, and they tell us they are going to cut that? They can’t cut that, they shouldn’t have to cut that.”
“It could be especially concerning for people who are on a fixed income and really relying on certain benefits to really make ends meet. I think the most important thing is that people should know that they want to be a little bit careful of their discretionary spending,” expressed Brianna Zimmerman, who is the Systems Change Advocate at Stavros Center for Independent Living.
Keith Gamage of Greenfield told 22News some of his concerns about the state of the economy, made even more stressful with the addition of a potential default on the country’s debt, “I try to save as much as I can but it’s hard, you know, the way costs are going up and up.”
Democratic lawmakers have been critical of the Republican’s plan, which includes 4.5-trillion in cuts.
Massachusetts Congressman Jim McGovern (D) voiced his opinion on the Republican solution for the debt ceiling talk, “The Republicans have given the White House a ransom note, given the country a ransom note saying, ‘if you don’t gut all these programs that help poor people and vulnerable people then we aren’t going to pay our billing, and we are going to default to the debt.”
“You have a variety of challenges here including veterans benefits, Social Security, medicare. How about the nutrition program? And how about medicaid for people who need healthcare?,” expressed Massachusetts Congressman Richard Neal (D).
Congressman Neal said he thinks a deal could be reached on the debt ceiling by Wednesday of next week.