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Inflation especially tough on elderly, draining social security, retirement accounts

For 10 million seniors, Social Security is at least 90% of their income. On average, the payments are just over $1,600 dollars a month.

HOUSTON — As consumer prices surged 8.6 percent, according to the U.S. Labor Department, most Americans are feeling the pain. 

 Inflation is even tougher for senior citizens on fixed incomes.

Joyce Silla is 71 and she is watching inflation eat through her savings.

"It’s gone, it’s depleted. No savings," Silla said. "That's it. If I can make it from one month to the other month, that's good."

For 10 million seniors, Social Security is at least 90% of their income. On average, the payments are just over $1,600 dollars a month. Inflation is far outpacing this year’s cost-of-living increase on those benefits even though it was the biggest raise in 39 years.

It’s not just food and gas either. Healthcare costs are up and many retirement accounts have taken a hit. 

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"That is just a burden that's very difficult to bear for some of these people,” said David Certner from AARP. “That's when they have to make tough choices."

At 70, Cynthia Tilford went back to work part-time at the University of Houston to stop draining her accounts. 

"The thought of retirement right now is really scary," she said.

Given the inflation, seniors can expect a near record social security increase next year. 

For now, they can visit www.benefitscheckup.org to see what extra assistance is available. The site is run by the National Council on Aging.

"We find that your average older adults often leaving seven thousand dollars-worth of assistance on the table," said Ramsey Alwin with NCOA.

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