Seniors to get small cut of President's stimulus deal

By Nicole Johnson  bio | email

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A small payment for senior citizens and the disabled is tucked into a big stimulus deal from President Obama.

Sixty-two year-old Nancy Kay is a widow on a fixed income with many bills to pay. Making it on her own isn't easy.

"Just go to the grocery store. Make sure that your phone and your cable are on. Pay your rent. I pay $700, maybe $800 here, and that's all that's left. I probably have $50-60 left at the end of the month," Nancy Kay said.

There are two benefits to senior citizens in President Obama's economic stimulus package:

1. Senior citizens who receive social security will get a one-time bonus of $250, added onto their checks.

2. Homeowners 62 or older may qualify for a reverse mortgage, which is basically borrowing money from the bank depending on the value of their homes.

"In the past the lending limit was $417,000 and that has now been raised to $625,500, which will give seniors access to more money," Mortgage Specialist Paul Franklin said.

Senior citizens say every extra bit helps, like Jennie Goodman who says she would use part of the money to buy gifts for her 17 grandchildren.

"I would tithe to the church, and then maybe got lots of grands, buy something for them," Jennie Goodman said.

Nancy Kay tries to help make ends by selling her artwork. She says she'll need her bonus in the future.

"You know what I'm going to do? My daughter would say the same thing. Put it in the bank. Hold on to it. Hold on to it the best you can," Kay said.

Senior citizens or the disabled who get social security checks can expect to get that $250 bonus check by May or June. The first proposal was a $450 bonus, but it dwindled as it made its way through Congress.

The reverse mortgage benefit will allow struggling seniors to stay in their homes without having to sell the home, give up the title or take out a new mortgage.