Fairview great-grandmother struggles on fixed income

Times are especially tough for some seniors on a fixed income.
Published: Oct. 27, 2022 at 8:01 AM PDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

FAIRVIEW, Ore. (KPTV) - The rising cost of housing, groceries, and inflation is putting a big pinch on those who already struggle living paycheck to paycheck.

Times are especially tough for some seniors on a fixed income.

FOX 12 recently met a 70-year-old woman who lives in Fairview. Connie Kozlowski is a great-grandmother who considers herself fortunate to have a roof when she knows so many others do not, but each year it gets tougher to make ends meet.

SEE ALSO: Grocery store prices continue to soar with no end in sight

Kozlowski has lived the past three years in a two-bedroom apartment; moving east when she no longer could afford her rent in Milwaukie, where most of her friends and family still live.

Come December, Kozlowski said her 12-month lease will be up and re-signing a new agreement will require paying an extra $127 a month for a total of a 9% increase on her rent.

“My social security is completely eaten up by my rent – totally,” Kozlowski said. “It’s just that high. I’ve never paid that much for rent in my life, and it goes up every year.”

To bridge the gap, Kozlowski wonders if she can cut her grocery bill further, something she’s already done over the last few years to scrimp and save.

Now, more realistically, she might dip into her 401k more frequently or get a roommate.

“Now I’m probably going to have to take in a person and split down everything to make it work,” Kozlowski said. “I don’t think I could make it next year or the year after.”

It’s not where Kozlowski expected to end up after working two jobs for much of her life.

“I raised my two girls on my own, all my life,” Kozlowski said. “God knows I don’t want my kids to have to take care of me. I don’t want that burden on them.”

SEE ALSO: Over 200 Portlanders share thoughts on Mayor Ted Wheeler’s homeless plan

Her fears sometimes keep her up at night, said Kozlowski. She said she doesn’t hold much hope for the future but wishes lawmakers and politicians would do more to ease the suffering of seniors.

“Senior citizens -- I don’t know how to make it more clear -- we should not be going out at the end of our life worrying about what will be,” Kozlowski said.

The Social Security Administration is set to issue a cost-of-living increase on social security payments. The 8.7% increase is set to take effect in December.

Meanwhile, if you’re an older adult struggling to eat, you might qualify for food stamps.

According to the National Council on Aging, fewer than half of seniors eligible for food stamps sign up for them, meaning millions of Americans over 60 aren’t getting the benefits that could help put food on the table.

SNAP - Eligibility and Applying for Benefits

Seniors who might struggle with using the internet are encouraged to call the Aging and Disability Resource Connection of Oregon for help. That number is 1-855-673-2372.