Cuts in social security could hurt rural parishes more

Tuesday, November 1, 2011 - 9:06am

It's craft time at the Sabine Council on Aging. Patricia Miller comes here to unwind...not to worry about what would happen if she stopped receiving her social security checks. "You know, it's something I have to have to be able to stay in my house and pay my bills, go to the doctor, eat."

There are a lot of people like Patricia Miller in Sabine Parish...close to 6,000 in all. Their checks make up 10.1 percent of total income in the parish, the highest rate in Louisiana. The state averages closer to 5.5 percent, which is identical to the nationwide rate. Reports find that Sabine Parish is more affected because it's a rural area...and as people get older and retire, they tend to move out of the city and into less congested areas.

As Congress continues to haggle over a debt reduction plan, social security is becoming a big factor...and cuts to the program could  have a huge impact rural communities "Right now so many of the expenses they face every day are going up," said Linda Grigsby, director of the council. "The cost of groceries are just skyrocketing, so their checks go less and less far every day."

Right now, there are no plans to make any serious changes to social security...and any enforcements would likely be put off for several years. But it still remains an important issue to seniors...and one they'll be keeping their eyes on as the debt talks continue.

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