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Help! Falling Between the Cracks, Seniors 50-61

Updated on January 20, 2012

My Own Story

Help! Falling Between the Cracks: Seniors 50 to 61

Recently in the debate on January 16, prior to the South Carolina Primary, a question was asked by a woman in the audience to the candidates. The woman told the story of her sister who was in the fifty to sixty range, who had not been able to find a job, but was not old enough to collect Social Security and she wanted to know how people in that age group were supposed to survive without a job or money. She mentioned that her sister was lucky enough to have been able to start her own business and did say her sister was an exception to the rule.

The candidate who answered her question completely ignored the first part of her question and only addressed the fact that her sister had been able to start her own business and used it as an opportunity to give his stump speech on what he would do for small businesses.

I’m one of those seniors who have fallen between the cracks. I am single by choice. I have neither the money to start my own business, or unfortunately a high enough credit rating, nor do I earn enough money that any lender would consider me a good risk even if I had a good credit rating. I don’t see this as a viable option for myself or the people in the same situation I am in.

I am working on a government sponsored training program for 20 hours a week that pays minimum wage. The idea is to receive enough training on the government's dime to be able to get an unsubsidized job. The program I'm working on considers a couple of the 'most in need' qualifications to be 75 years or older and disabled or severely disabled persons, A 75 year-old has Social Security and many get food stamps and housing assistance; they really do not want to go back to work because they would lose a lot of their current benefits. Disabled and severely disabled people get Social Security Disability. The reason they're paid disability is because they can't work so why are they working?

These people have money to fall back on; I do not have any money. They are not the most in need. I am and the people in my age group. We are the ones who have fallen between the cracks.

I am in danger of becoming homeless because I will be unable to make my mortgage payments soon. The only reason I’ve been able to make the payments is because I was left a small inheritance which is now exhausted. My mortgage company will not offer me any relief either by extending my 30-year mortgage or lowering the interest rate so my payments would be lower; I am ineligible because I only work 20 hours at $7.25. I’m ineligible for housing assistance because I live in my own home.

If I don't have any money, I will not only be unable to pay my mortgage, but my utilities also. I won't be able to go out and apply for jobs because I won't have the money for bus fare nor to pay for my Internet service to apply for jobs online. I will not be able to apply for food stamps or energy assistance because I won't have the bus fare to get there to apply, but I guess none of this will be necessary anyway if I'm living in a box on the street and dining at the dumpster. This is what falling between the cracks really means.

I have sent out hundreds of resumes, applied for any job I think I have the qualifications for, but no luck. I’ve even applied at the fast food restaurants. I have a college degree that I worked hard to get, but it’s not doing me a bit of good. I’ve taken classes to improve my job hunting and job interviewing skills and I attend job fairs, but since I am rarely called for an interview I can’t even get my foot in the door. Is it my age? They don’t want to hire me because they think I’m going to be in the doctor’s office every other day instead of at my job or do they think since I’m a senior that they’ll just get me fully trained and I’ll decide to retire? Do they think it's because I’m going to fall, have a heart attack, or stroke on the job and increase the price of their worker’s compensation or I might sue them?

I may be older, but I do not act as if I have one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel. My mind is sharp and I love learning new things. I have a lot of different skills that could benefit an employer. I have a very strong work ethic; I’m punctual, I don’t spend work time chatting or texting on my cell phone; I don’t shop online when I’m supposed to be working, and the best of all I show up for work every day.

I am trying very hard to climb out from between the crack I’ve fallen into and remain positive. I really want to be self-sufficient and be able to contribute to society, but it’s hard to do that when you’re considered a non-entity and expected to remain invisible and silent about your situation.

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