Organization Offering Help to Elderly Job Seekers
MISSION – A Rio Grande Valley man said his monthly Social Security check is barely enough when the cost of living keeps rising.
James Neigg plans out his expenses every single month. He said by the end of all the deductions, he only has a few dollars left over.
He said the stress is taking a toll on him.
The 77-year-old grew up in Minneapolis where he worked at a department store making 80 cents an hour.
“So that was good money back then. It went a long way. Nowadays, it’s not that way. It takes a whole check to, a person’s check, just to pay for one item when you’re shopping,” he said.
Neigg moved to Hawaii as an adult. The high cost of living forced him to relocate to the Rio Grande Valley. He said his Social Security check barely cancels out his expenses.
“Stay afloat, above the water, month to month,” he said.
In 2015, Social Security cost of living adjustment saw zero change. In 2016, that number only went up 0.3 percent.
Neigg said he lives with a friend, since that’s the only way he can afford to have a home.
He said he couldn’t live on his own, it was, “almost impossible.”
He said he saves money where he can from using an electric heater to not turning on his Christmas lights this year.
“You can’t even go out to dinner, ‘cause you can’t afford it,” Neigg said.
A Valley organization offers help to those like Neigg.
AARP Foundation Senior Community Service Employment Program assists job seekers 55 and older. Jose Luis Gonzalez said he knows what Neigg is going through.
“The reality is that as people mature in age, and are willing and able to work, it becomes a little bit more challenging to find employment,” Gonzalez said.
Neigg said he has tried finding work.
“I’m in the category of being too old, I’m 77 and they look at that,” he said.
Gonzalez said the program caters to a more experienced crowd. He welcomes people who still have a desire to work.
He encouraged Neigg and others to seek out the organization’s services.
There are certain criteria to qualify for the program. They are:
- Must be 55+ and older
- Expected to work an 18 hour week
- Cannot already be employed when enrolling
- Can only stay a max. of 4 years in the program
- Must continue seeking for employment