At the Grafstein & Arcaro, LLC in Connecticut, we see an ever growing number of senior citizens coming to us for help in filing bankruptcy. As the New York Times recently reported, if you are 65 or older, your inadequate pension and personal savings, plus the rising costs of medical care and prescription drugs, may have put you in the position where bankruptcy is your only realistic option. A recent study shows that seniors such as you represent 12.2 percent of all bankruptcy filers today. In 1991, seniors represented only 2.1 percent of filers.
Unfortunately, the dream of one’s senior years also becoming the golden years no longer applies to the majority of Americans. Many factors, including the following, have made it impossible for today’s seniors such as you to retire in comfort:
- Extensive debt
- Little or no savings
- Medicare coverage gaps
- Skyrocketing medical costs
- Longer waits for Social Security benefits
The amount of savings any family can put aside has steadily decreased over the years. By 2016, the median savings account for families headed by a senior was only $60,000. For the lowest 25 percent of such families, their average savings account amounted to only $3,500.
Increasing health costs
At the same time as your savings ability decreased, your health costs rose. Today it is not at all uncommon for a senior to spend 41 percent or more of his or her Social Security benefits on health care. Between the cost of co-pays, Medicare gaps and other out-of-pocket expenses, particularly those for prescription medications, many seniors living only on Social Security must make the hard choice between staying healthy or eating.
For all of these reasons and more, including shrinkage of the national safety net, bankruptcy remains not only your most viable financial option, but also the only safety net component left. Consequently, you should not feel guilty about availing yourself of bankruptcy benefits.
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