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Many S.D. Seniors Don’t Have Enough Income for Basic Needs

More than 40 percent of San Diego County residents  aged 65 and older don't have enough income to meet their basic needs, mainly  because they're ineligible for federal assistance, according to a report  released today.

The income of 131,000 San Diegans falls below the "Elder Index," the  cost of living for seniors in the county, according to the report from the UCLA  Center for Health Policy Research and the Insight Center for Community Economic  Development.

According to the study, 107,000 San Diego seniors earn more than the  federal poverty level of $12,255, making them ineligible for government aid  even though they can't cover the higher cost of living in San Diego County.

"Having more than 40 percent of older adults in our community  struggling to provide for their basic human needs clearly illustrates the  antiquated measurements of the federal poverty line," said Paul Downey, the  president and chief executive officer of Senior Community Centers in San Diego.

Homeowners with paid-off mortgages require $15,678 to live in San Diego  County, renters need $22,822 and homeowners still paying a monthly mortgage  must have $30,368, the researchers wrote.

In comparison, the median retirement income of women in San Diego County  is $20,546 and they are struggling to make ends meet, according to the  report. Men, who are more likely to have a pension, earn $29,574.

The most vulnerable group, the report states, is renters who live alone,  70 percent of whom fall below the Elder Index.

The UCLA and Insight centers conducted the study for all the counties in  California, finding that a total of 500,000 seniors in the state were  struggling to make ends meet. The research was based on data from the U.S.  Census Bureau and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

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