Rep. Jan Schakowsky: Thank You for Your Stories on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and the Older Americans Act

Washington, DC–(ENEWSPF)–July 23, 2015.  Statement from Rep. Jan Schakoswky:

As we celebrate special anniversaries of these monumental programs, I want to hear from you. So far I have received the below stories. They are inspiring and uplifting. They also are great reasons to protect and expand these programs. Please take the time to read the below stories from our neighbors. We must remember each of them and millions more whenever anyone talks about or tries to cut these programs. If you or your family have a story to share, please click here to submit it. Thank you!

Rene from Chicago, IL
“I’m a United States Military Veteran and currently on S.S.I. Disability for several long term life illnesses. Medicaid has provided me with life saving medical treatment as well as numerous prescription medications.  Without Medicaid and several Federal and State funded programs I would not be here telling my story.  Thank you very much Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, State Rep. Kelly Cassidy and State Sen. Heather Steans.”

Arlene from Skokie, IL
“I don’t really have a story, except I am so grateful to have Social Security.  As a senior, health problems creep up when unexpected.  I don’t know what I would do without it.  Medical bills are so expensive, I am sure they would make a huge dent in my savings if I did not have it.  My kids can sleep soundly knowing their mother is getting good medical care because of Social Security. No country should ignore their elders.  Also, the program is so well run and whenever you call there are knowledgeable people who can answer your questions.  Thank you, Jan, for protecting Social Security.”

Sandra from Morton Grove, IL
“My parents both worked their entire lives, but did not make lots of income.  They lived into late 80 ‘s and in the end only had social security left…  If it had not been for Medicaid in the last 7 years of their lives they could never have lived in a nice, safe place where there daily needs and nursing health care needs were met.  I shutter to think what their end would have been like without this help.”

Don from Wilmette, IL
“I had a surgery while on medicare. The medicare covered most of the cost. l could not afford the cost because medicare is better than inurance companies.”       

Patricia from Chicago, IL
“I suffer from 3 chronic illnesses Para Transit allows me to to have somewhat of a life despite increasing difficulty in just getting around.   Meal on wheels allows me to rest and have a nutritious meals despite a difficult medicine regime and medicare and medicaid helps me get the help I need and keeps me from dying in the street. No one asks for this but through these programs while not active as I use to be it allows me dignity in these difficult days. It allows me to volunteer both through my church and the park district and give back to community the gifts and knowledge accumulated through my lifetime. I teach crochet in the park district and to youngsters as well as tutor science and math in my church and volunteer in church in enriching the lives of many. It’s what I can do and these programs help me do it.”

Rhoda from Oak Park, IL
“There were two heroes at the end of my mom’s life when at 89 she was poor, seriously ill and mentally diminished. Both of her heroes helped her live her last months with as much quality-of-life as possible. Both provided her with sensitive and true concern, decent healthcare and the gift of genuine and personal kindness during her last months, weeks and days.

My mom’s first hero was hospice–funded through Medicare– that cared for her body, attended to her personal needs as well as her spirit, supported her through her many tough moments and were by her side, literally, till her end.

My mom’s second hero was the Medicaid nursing home that was my mom’s last home. It was not fancy nor pretty but it was clean, had nutritious food, my mom had her privacy with her own room and bath and her basic medical and safety needs were attended to.

I shudder to think what my mom’s last months would have been like without Medicare and Medicaid. She could not afford private care, my sister lived a distance away and my own small house has stairs and many tight spaces my mom never could have maneuvered around in. She would have have been bed bound and very unhappy if she had to stay with me. Medicare and Medicaid made all the difference in the world to one old and dying lady, her children, and her grandchildren. Everyone deserves basic and decent care in their last days. Please don’t take this away from the many many others like my mom who also deserve a good life all the way till the end.”

Jonathon from Evanston, IL
“My story is short. I’m 72. I worked my whole adult life as well as summer jobs in high school and college. I put both of my children through college as well. I retired at 68. I had a nest egg however without Social Security and Medicare I would still be working with no prospect of retirement. The difference in outcomes is amazing.”

Barbara from Chicago, IL
“My story is not the exceptional news bite.  My story is the story of millions of seniors whose essential contributions to their communities, service through invaluable volunteer hours, is made possible by the support of all of these socially pro-active systems.  They are our only ‘pay.’  Of course they aren’t really a salary, but they support us in our retirement so that we can function as an invaluable, salary-free work force for our communities.  Think about that for a moment.  Look around you.  We are everywhere.  But we don’t toot our own horns.  We just fill in in a million quiet ways.  We drive neighbors to the doctor’s office; we provide the support systems for the chronically ill (friends and neighbors as well as family); we man the food pantries and soup kitchens; we act as community organizers for a wide variety of issues that affect our various neighborhoods as well as more global issues, from the placement of a new stop sign to the passage of current state and national legislation; we babysit for families whose respite workers have been cut; we volunteer in classrooms whose aides have been cut.  I could go on and on and on.  We don’t have PR firms working to publicize our work.  We just do it.  We believe in service.  We actually enjoy being of service.  It’s what we do and why we do it.  With the help of ALL of these helping government systems, we will continue to freely, quietly and responsibly step up to serve.

And one last thing: these services are not ‘free.’  We paid into them all our working lives.  They do not provide us with Golden Parachutes, only assistance in maintaining ourselves with dignity in our later years.  This is part of a civilized social system, not an exceptional give-away or welfare state.”

Anita from Chicago, IL
“Of course as an older American I have benefitted from Social Security retirement funds and Medicare in many ways, making my years following employment years possible without poverty as I am, like many retirees, dependent on these benefits for the majority of my income. My mother, when it was necessary for her to move into nursing home living, was partly supported in that cost by Medicaid since she had been the homemaker wife of an immigrant husband before he had passed and had no Social Security benefits.

As my work both in employment and volunteering involves the community I have many friends and neighbors who depend on Meals on Wheels and other services that are part of the Older Americans Act and Medicaid. Daily I see how this helps improve their lives. I am also advocating for upgrading Medicare benefits and making the shift of age status of very poor individuals from one kind of benefits to another more simple, not requiring major assistance of political  systems powers to obtain the basics and staying alive.  My America, the richest country in the world, should be able to provide this for Americans.”

Howard from Chicago, IL
“In 1971 when I was a senior in high school, my father had a stroke which permanently disabled him.  Back then Social Security gave payments to parents for children who were full time students until the age of 21 or 22 (can’t remember).  Those payments allowed me to attend University of Illinois at Chicago (and paid for all my college expenses – I was a commuter student).  Without it, I probably would not have been able to attend college.  As a result, I earn more than double what I would have with just a high school degree.  I also pay much more in SSA taxes each year than I ever received from SSA in the 1970’s.  But that’s OK.  SSA was there when I needed it.”