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Low-Income Seniors

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  1. Low-Income Seniors DataBrief Series● September 2010●No. 4 Seniors living alone have 35% less annual income than seniors living with others?

  2. Low-Income Seniors • A quarter of seniors live alone, and they tend to have lower incomes than seniors living with others, such as spouses.1 • About 15 percent of seniors living alone have incomes that put them below the federal poverty line (FPL).1 • Lower incomes make these seniors more vulnerable to financial crises, such as an unexpected illness or major home repair. • When they face difficulties managing daily tasks such as preparing food, dressing, and bathing, their ability to hire help can be limited by their financial situation. Avalere analysis of 2006 Health and Retirement Study. DataBrief (2010) ● No. 4

  3. Seniors living alone have on average 35% less annual income than seniors living with others. DataBrief (2010) ● No. 4

  4. Low-income seniors who live alone may face challenges in maintaining their home and paying for help with activities of daily living to the degree that they risk impoverishment and their ability to stay in their homes.Various state- and federally-funded programs are available to support low-income seniors including Older Americans Act programs from the Administration on Aging and Medicaid home- and community-based care as well as Medicare Savings Programs.However, these programs only reach a modest number of seniors at present.Large-scale systematic changes to financing retirement and long-term care services may be necessary to support this population. • The facts about seniors’ income come from the 2006 Health and Retirement Study, a longitudinal survey conducted every other year on individuals of retirement age. The survey asks people about their living arrangements as well as their income and assets from a variety of sources. This analysis is restricted to respondents 65 years old or older. For comparison purposes married seniors’ income and assets were divided in half. DataBrief (2010) ● No. 4