Last Thursday, June 19th, the Insight Center and UCLA Center for Health Policy Research released the updated Elder Index for seniors living alone or with a partner. They also released the first-ever Elder Index for the costs associated with seniors raising one, two, or three grandchildren in each California county in a new report called The High Cost of Caring: Grandparents Raising Grandchildren.
The Elder Index measures the cost of older adults’ basic expenses: housing, food, medical care, and transportation. Seniors – no matter what their source of income – often struggle to make ends meet in San Francisco County. Neither the median Social Security payment nor the maximum Supplemental Security Income payment is enough to cover seniors’ most basic needs (see below). While support programs can help, many use the Federal Poverty Guidelines (FPL) to determine eligibility.
The problem is that the FPL is the same dollar amount across the country, and does not reflect today’s cost of living. The result? Thousands of economically insecure seniors fall through the cracks of our public systems with too much income to qualify for help, but not enough to get by.
In San Francisco, seniors and low income folks in general are struggling to stay in their homes and their City. Homelessness is rising among seniors as well as others who fall out of the housing market through Ellis Act evictions and other means and cannot get back in.
At right, see the minimum income necessary in San Francisco for just the most basic economic security – and this is before an individual needs homecare and other supports that will help them remain living in their own homes and community. Well, fact is fewer than half of the city’s seniors have reach this most basic level of economic security.
Looking at the chart below, you can see how important it is to preserve every dollar of Social Security income (so join us on July 2 at 4:00 at the Federal Building at 7th and Mission to fight the Chained CPI proposal which will reduce Social Security payments steadily over time).
What else can we do? Keep urging the Mayor Ed Lee and the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to support programs in this year’s budget that help seniors and people with disabilities make ends meet – food, affordable housing, other assistance as well as jobs for those seniors who want and are able to work.
Please visit http://www.insightcced.org for links to the latest San Francisco Elder Index data.
If you are new to the discussion, check out the General Guide to Using the Elder Index at http://www.insightcced.org/uploads/eesi/Using_the_Elder_Index.pdf.
Thanks to the Susie Smith and others at the Insight Center, UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, Spoke Consulting, Jenny Chung Mejia, Sikizi Allen, and many other partner organizations who each played critical a role in the Elder Index update, expansion and release! And thanks to The California Wellness Foundation and the California Community Foundation, without whose support this release would not have been possible.
Please share this updated resource with your networks!