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According to a study by the Economic Policy Institute, almost half of American seniors are in financially unstable situations. This doesn’t mean they are living in poverty, but it means they are only one bad economic shock away from poverty. If something were to go terribly wrong those seniors would struggle to do simple things like pay for food, medicine and housing.
How Many Seniors are Living in Poverty?
Around 9 percent of people ages 65 and older that live under the Official Poverty Measure according to the National Senior Citizens Law Center. If you look at the Supplemental Poverty Measure it’s closer to 15 percent nationally. The Supplemental Poverty Measure is usually more accurate because it more accurately takes into account the cost of living expenses for senior citizens.
While there are government safety net programs out there for American senior citizens, they can’t do everything. Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid have reduced poverty in some areas, but those programs may be all a senior has, and without them they would not be able to pay for their essentials.
Poverty is More Prevalent in Minorities
If you break seniors into racial categories, those numbers rise. According to the Economic Policy Institute, 63.5 percent of Hispanics and 70.1 percent of African Americans are in vulnerable economic situations. Vulnerable economic situations can be defined by the Economic Policy Institute as “having an income less than 2.0 times the Census Bureau’s Supplemental Poverty Measure threshold.” What this commonly means is that certain communities across the country have a large number of seniors in vulnerable economic situations.
Many Seniors Already Live in Poverty
While it is troubling enough to think that half of American seniors are in vulnerable economic situations, there are many seniors already living in poverty. These seniors rely very heavily on the government programs that are already in place. If those programs were not there, they would not be able to get by.
Options Available to Seniors
No one wants to see these seniors living in poverty, but the government programs in place can’t do it all. Luckily, there are other options out there for seniors.
Accept Support from Family
Although it’s not always an option, accepting money from family is probably one of the most common solutions to seniors with vulnerable economic situations. It isn’t always easy for the senior or the family, but it does help.
Although it might not be the first thing many people think of, retirement facilitates can really help take off the burden of financial stress. Insurance can play a big role in making retirement facilities affordable, so look into your options.
Sell Your Life Insurance Policy
Another option available to seniors is to sell your life insurance policy for a life settlement. Life insurance policies can actually be a financial stress themselves. When you sell that policy you actually benefit from it.
You can use the Qualification Calculator to see if you qualify for a life settlement.