By Henni Espinosa, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

Mar 5, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO – In today’s tough economy, more and more seniors in America are struggling to make ends meet. A joint study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University shows that many people in America do not have enough money to live comfortably in their old age, citing that 46 percent of senior citizens in the U.S. have less than $10,000 in financial assets when they die. Most of them are totally dependent on social security payments as their only source of income.

In the study, many said they cannot afford to pay for emergency and unexpected costs, such as expensive medical treatments not covered by Medicare or Medicaid.

Eighty-five -year old Jesus Urrutia moved to the U.S. 30 years ago and worked as a security guard. He only relies on his $900 a month pension from social security. He shares a two-bedroom rental with his daughter and her children. He said, “Living on a small, fixed income is hard.”

Seventy-six–year old Abelardo Nabong does not have social security to rely on. He moved to the U.S. in 2006 and has a hard time looking for a job. His wife, Erlinda, is a senior herself, but has to work as a caregiver for another senior. They rely on her meager income to pay for rent and to send money home to their children and grandchildren.

Erlinda said, “You have to make a lot of sacrifices here in America.”

While Urrutia wants to stay in America, the Nabongs said the tough conditions here make them wish they were back in the Philippines.

These already struggling seniors may brace for more hardships, after federal budget cuts that came into effect on Friday.

More than four million home-bound and disabled seniors may have to go hungry this year because of cuts to Meals on Wheels Programs.

The American Medical Association said that more seniors could also have a harder time getting healthcare through Medicare. Doctors’ reimbursements will be cut by two percent by April 1, which may further lessen the access of seniors to physicians.

You may contact Henni Espinosa at for more information.

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