Jobless And Forced To Take Social Security
Published: June 11, 2012
Jobless And Forced To Take Social Security, Clare Keany has been unemployed since 2008, and now lives entirely on her $1,082 monthly check. This retirement oasis in the desert has long beckoned those who want to spin out their golden years playing golf and sitting by the pool in the arid sunshine.
But for Clare Keany, who turned 62 last fall and cannot find work, it feels more like a prison. Just a few miles from the gated estates of corporate chieftains and Hollywood stars, Ms. Keany lives in a tiny mobile home, barely getting by on little more than $1,082 a month from Social Security.
“I would rather be functioning and having a job somewhere,” said Ms. Keany, whose pixie haircut, trim build and crinkling smile suggest someone much younger than her years. “I really don’t enjoy living like this. I’ve got too much to do still.”
Even as most Americans are delaying retirement to bolster their savings accounts, the recession and its protracted aftermath have forced many older people who are out of work to draw Social Security much earlier than they had planned.
According to an*n*lysis by Steve Goss, chief actuary for the Social Security Administration, about 200,000 more people filed initial claims in 2009 and 2010 than the agency had predicted before the recession and he said the trend most likely continued in 2011 and 2012, though that is harder to quantify. The most likely reason is joblessness.
Ms. Keany had always expected to work into her 70s and add to her retirement cushion. But after losing her job as an executive assistant at an advertising agency in 2008, she searched fruitlessly for full-time work and exhausted her unemployment benefits. For a while, she strung together odd jobs and lived off her 401(k) retirement and profit-sharing accounts. Then, this year, with her savings depleted and no job offers in sight, she reluctantly applied for Social Security.
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