Not getting Social Security checks a concern for San Diegans

Senior citizens, the disabled and veterans in San Diego are concerned about President Obama's remarks to possibly delay government checks if there is no deal to raise the debt ceiling by August 2nd.

Whatever the President's motive, to pressure Republicans for tax increases or to forge some sort of grand compromise, his remarks were seen as somewhat callous and uncaring to those who need those government checks to survive.

The Potiker Senior Center on 14th Street houses 200 seniors whose incomes are at or below the poverty level, less than $11,000 a year.

Social Security is their primary source of income, and the average check here is below $900 a month.

“I cannot guarantee that those checks go out on August 3rd if we haven't resolved this issue, because there may simply not be the money in the coffers,” said President Obama.

The President's remarks about possibly delaying Social Security checks has brought fear and anxiety to nearly all senior citizens in San Diego.

To seniors on Social Security, those monthly checks are survival.

“I'll lose my apartment, food, everything,” said senior citizen Leroy Post.

“That makes me a little upset, and it makes me scared because how am I going to survive without it? I barely survive with it,” Social Security recipient Joann McFann said.

Paul Downey has advocated for seniors much of his adult life. If the government shuts down, his ability to serve 1800 meals a day at the 10 centers he oversees is gone.

“Seniors everywhere are worried and it isn't just low income seniors, it's middle income seniors who depend on this money coming in, and the question is 'what happens?'” Downey said.

And if Social Security checks are delayed, senior citizens, the disabled and veterans could end up on the street.

“They don't leave me any other choice, where else would I go? I haven't got money to go anywhere, I'd have to go out on the street,” Post said.

“There are people here who are in wheelchairs, and they can barely get around inside. How they gonna do that outside?” McFann said.

Stress is living on $900 a month, nearly two-thirds of which goes to rent.  Here, a telephone and a TV are luxuries.

“You know, I have anxiety and depression to deal with anyway, and I don't need to have more to be worried about,” McFann said.

There have been government shutdowns before.  And each time, social security checks were sent out, uninterrupted.

Categories: KUSI