Arizona senior shares concerns about Social Security amid debt limit uncertainty

It appears a debt ceiling deal has been agreed upon but an Arizona senior is still on edge until it's signed into law.
Published: May. 29, 2023 at 4:57 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - The government is running out of money and time. Congressional lawmakers have one week to pass a debt ceiling before the nation defaults on our loans. Dennis Hoffman, an ASU economic professor, says allowing the U.S. to default on its debt would be devastating, while he admits it’s not likely to happen.

Still, weeks of political back and forth have left seniors concerned about whether Social Security checks could be delayed. At 73 years old, these should be her golden years. “I worked hard to get to where I was, to get to where I could retire. I’m very lucky,” said Saundra Cole.

Cole has been living with anxiety, afraid she may soon be left with no money and no health care. “If we don’t get our social security, we don’t get our Medicare,” she said. She’s on a fixed income and the uncertainty of whether her monthly check could be delayed has her looking for ways to cut down on her costs. “This time of the year, air conditioning. If I don’t get my check, I may have to put it up. I know I’m not going to die at 80 (degrees). I know I’m not going to die at 82. I’d probably put it up 82,83,” Cole said.

One of the most contentious issues is increasing work requirements from 49 to 54 for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. “There was always a tremendous amount of discussion about the fact that this deal would get done. It just depended upon what provisions were going to come with it,” said Hoffman.

The bill could suspend the debt limit to 2025, meaning lawmakers could set the issue aside until after the presidential election next year. Hoffman believes getting out of this situation is unlikely until there’s change. “It’s the deionization of taxes that is equally responsible for out debt and deficit situation as is exorbitant spending,” he said.

The House Rules Committee is expected to take up the agreement Tuesday afternoon, clearing the way for a vote by the Republican-controlled chamber. The package must also pass the Democratic-controlled Senate before President Joe Biden can sign it into law.

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