I wonder what you expect to see here after reading the title. Well let me make it quick so you can decide if you want to read on. I am a Disgruntled American Service connected disabled Veteran. I know that not everything with a country can be to everyone’s satisfaction but there are some things that are just plain wrong and can be fixed. I find it deplorable the penalties imposed on the elderly who have worked all of their lives toward retirement and then are penalized for having actually retired.
My mother has been working since she was 14 years old, she retired at 62 (and was penalized) to take care of her mother. An aging parent that will not be a burden to the state as she rots in a state run facility because her daughter stepped up to make sure she was properly cared for. For retiring early, my mother was denied approximately 30% of what she would have earned by waiting 3 more years. Then to add insult to injury, they called her & told her the benefit amount, paid it to her and then several months later, called her back and said she was collecting too much (they issue these checks) and made her pay them back! Again, she had no choice, they are the ones cutting the checks! Unbelievable! Here’s the question though, should she have abandoned her mother? She worked those years, she paid into the system and this money will not be restored to her once she hits 65, this 30% will be absent for the rest of her life.
For my mothers 48 years of work history, she gets a little more than $800 a month, so she applied for medicare & food stamps. She got them until she realized, this still was not really enough for her to live on so she did like a lot of elderly people and she got a part time job. She works a whopping 8 hours a week. Tax time comes, she claims this 8 hours and guess what? She earns too much to be insured & to get food stamps now. WHAT THE FUCK!? She earns more than $930 a month so she can no longer qualify for coverage for her high blood pressure meds which cost $150 a month and who cares if she eats? 48 years she worked, did I mention that? She didn’t ask for a handout, she worked! In case you missed the math on that, she earns more than $11,160 a year so they cut her benefits.
I decided to look up the lawmakers in her area, she lives in Wisconsin to see what their benefits are. Members of Congress can retire at 50 with no penalty and only have to “work” for 20 to 25 years. Wait? What? They have to work a whopping 5 years in order to be eligible for their pension. Then once they retire, they are allowed to earn up to 15% of what they earned in their position which averages about $29,010 when you take into account the average Congressman earns $193,400 per year. However, they are provided additional income to help defray costs such as traveling between his home state & DC and “other” goods and services which we know seems to include mistresses, call girls & viagara. Why is this relevant? Because these are the very people making these laws that govern the penalties & what can be earned, these millionaires who could care less about old folks eating cat food (which I think once the cat food makers realized this, they increased the prices).
So in addition to now having to figure out food and medical, now because she isn’t insured guess what else she gets? The penalty for not having insurance! She was told that fee would be $95 a month as the representative told her that she was no longer covered because of her “high earnings”. So lets tally this up shall we? She went from $830 a month to over $930 and for doing so, she now has to come out of pocket at least $150 for her meds, $95 a month for the penalty cost of not having insurance and buy food, lets estimate that at another $100 for the month. So she is now at $345 in additional expenses because she earned an additional $100 by working 8 hours a week.
Last summer I left the country and I have been doing my best to encourage my mother to do the same but for good. I am a Veteran who is encouraging people to leave the country, not because I don’t love it but because it seems not to reciprocate that feeling. For $181 (already saving her money) she can get health insurance for living abroad that makes Medicare look like….well, Medicare which is not good. She can live on that same money in Costa Rica or Southern Mexico and have a maid and still go out with her friends to eat. How sad is it that in order to have a high quality of life, a lot of retired people are fleeing the country.
I love this country, I fought for this country and I hurt every single day as a reminder, yet when it is time to retire, I have no plans of making it here. This is a country for the young, it has no respect for the elderly or the hard working people. Wouldn’t it be awesome if insurance & retirement was like a savings plan. You only paid into your own pot & whatever was left if you died was willed to your family members so they would never have to “take from society” which would really revamp the welfare system just by the sheer nature of what I am suggesting. All of those 48 years of paying into Social Security, into the programs that distribute food stamps, into the programs that offer Medicare/Medicaid and now to have to be penalized when it is time to use them? Sad testimony of how our country manages not just its finances but how it manages its people as well.
Yep, I’m pretty pissed off that my mother is relegated to poverty because she decided to care for an aging parent, its crap. Which means my siblings and I can expect the same as we work to help now care for 2 aging adults. Actually to say that we can expect the same is not accurate because my generation knows that there will be no Social Security when its time for me to retire. Yet, I pay into it but I suppose if there is a chance that it will be there, it will only be because of the money they saved by penalizing as many elderly people as they could from the generation before mine.