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Webb Weekly is a family-oriented newspaper direct mailed to over 58,000 homes each week.

Webb Weekly

280 Kane St. STE #2
South Williamsport, PA
United States

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County Hall Corner: A Senior Moment

There is a wake-up call with retirement. In one sense, it seems fantastic that the daily drudgery of going to work is finally in the rearview mirror. Finally, there is the freedom to travel, pick up a new hobby, or just spend more time with family and friends. But the other reality is that the

There is a wake-up call with retirement. In one sense, it seems fantastic that the daily drudgery of going to work is finally in the rearview mirror. Finally, there is the freedom to travel, pick up a new hobby, or just spend more time with family and friends. But the other reality is that the body is not what it was just a few years before, and the cost of those medical bills puts a bite in those plans for Hilton Head or Hawaii.

Given that I am now part of that community, I can say that I have yet to meet a single senior that can say that their retirement has turned out the way they expected. A number have discovered that their newly acquired free time is coveted by family members who need babysitters or other help. The same is true of the amount of money they believed would allow them to live ‘comfortably’ in their evening years, especially with the present inflation rates we are now encountering.

It is this elderly angst that was behind the Senior Expo sponsored by Senator Gene Yaw and Representative Joe Hamm at the Community Baptist Church on the morning of Thursday, September 22nd. One local media source (not Webb Weekly!) published the wrong location. Still, it appears that virtually everyone got their CORRECT info about the event from a very impressive mail flyer sent out to seniors. The doors were to open at 9:30 a.m., yet the line started forming before 9:00, and by 9:30, at least 100 seniors were waiting to enter.

The government sponsors of this program were not sponsors in name only. When the door did open, Senator Yaw was there to greet each person as they entered. Standing a few yards inside the entrance was Representative Joe Hamm, and he was not just shaking hands. One after another stood in line to talk to Hamm because he has a well-earned reputation as a government official who does not just listen to problems but seeks to find ways to solve them.

Assembled were over 50 vendors with programs or services for seniors. They represented health organizations, financial institutions, non-profit organizations, and even law-enforcement units. It was a cornucopia that was extremely well designed and, given the 500 or so attendees, was also greatly appreciated.

Quite frankly, seniors are looking for help, and they need more than Senator Yaw and Representative Hamm, and well-meaning local organizations can offer. One example is the Pennsylvania Lottery which supplies Pennsylvania seniors to have access to free and reduced-fare transportation, prescription assistance, free meals, and rent and property tax rebates. That last item, property tax rebates, is critically valuable to many seniors. Yet the program has not been adjusted for inflation for many years — thus, as seniors get cost-of-living increases to their social security, it could bump them from the rebate program on rent and property tax. In 2010, the number peaked at just over 600,000 but then began to shrink, a trend that has continued every year since. In 2021, fewer than 450,000 households received rebates. That’s a drop of almost 27% in the past ten years.

This year may be especially challenging for many because Social Security recipients will receive the highest cost-of-living adjustment since 1982, which could disqualify scores of people currently receiving rebates when they reapply next year based on their 2022 income.

This is a problem that the legislators in Harrisburg could fix but have not chosen to do so. Some years ago, there was a stopgap measure focused on Social Security cost-of-living increases, ensuring that no one who had already qualified for a rebate would lose out solely because of those raises. The bill, signed into law by former Republican Gov. Tom Corbett, allowed hundreds of people to keep receiving rebates, according to the Department of Revenue, but it expired in 2016 and has not been renewed.

Sadly, this is just one of many issues that seniors must deal with as their lives get more demanding, and they have fewer resources to deal with them. It used to be the Boy Scouts who would help an old lady across the street. Today, there needs to be more leaders like Senator Yaw and Representative Hamm to help them where they need to go.