Seniors need income security

Posted on December 11, 2015 in Social Security Debates – Opinion / Readers’ Letters – Re: Singles, seniors face greatest hunger risk in Ontario, report finds, Nov. 30
Dec 11 2015.   Barbara Kilbourn

Are we surprised? Some 45-plus years after our group was launched out of a concern for senior citizens, there are still older adults who face poverty or are already living in poverty. Most of them are single and most of them are women.

There are not enough pension benefits to live on – Canadian Pension Plan, Old Age Security, or Guaranteed Income Supplement. The CPP average amount as of July 2015 for new beneficiaries is $640.23; OAS maximum is $569.95 and GIS maximum for a single individual is $772.83. Total monthly income: $1,983.01.

Or if one never paid into CPP (a qualifying immigrant who accompanied family), then the amount would be $1,342.78.

The biggest expense is always rent – and the rule of thumb for affordability is no more than one-third of one’s income – or $661 for this example. The 2015 report from the Ontario Association of Food Banks cites that the average food bank client spends more than 70 per cent of income on housing, or $1,388.11 in this example.

What is left for the rest of living? Any quality of life? Food – only from a food bank? No telephone – cellphone or landline. And what about medications or transportation?

Let’s fix this now for the current senior citizens living in poverty, for our children and grandchildren. Income security is needed for all.

Barbara Kilbourn, president, Canadian Pensioners Concerned

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