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We are asking very little, and we will do everything to help, but we cannot do it without your help. Thank you.
Senator SMITH. Thank you very much, Mrs. Dean. STATEMENT OF CHARLES C. O'DONNELL, LYNN, MASS., NATIONAL
PRESIDENT, SENIOR CITIZENS AND ASSOCIATES OF AMERICA
Mr. O'DONNELL. Charles C. O'Donnell, national president of the Senior Citizens & Associates of America for going on 34 years.
I will take a very, very few minutes because I spoke in Springfield but I want to say that in regard to our medical program on the KingAnderson bill, now, that is going to be a good start. Now we here in Massachusetts have accepted the Kerr-Mills bill which the Members of Congress—that is, the Senate and the House-enacted, and very few States have accepted it.
I might tell the lady from Rhode Island to get on the ball down there in Rhode Island and see that they accept that Kerr-Mills bill.
Now we want to continue the Kerr-Mills bill because as some of these people are in these homes, that is, the hospital and the nursing home, the 180-day limit comes. Now if there is a basis of need under the Kerr-Mills bill and the basis of need can be set by the State, now in our State they are allowed to have $2,000 and a married couple $3,000.
Íf you will excuse me, I want some of the people in here to know that you have done some very, very good work in starting off.
There is no lien on the property, there is no limit to your insurance, like old age assistance. Now, in Massachusetts the hard part of the bill is the Federal Government does not require this but we have a clause in it—the house voted to repeal that children's clause and go along with the Federal Government on that, 175 to 1, but the senate defeated the bill.
I would suggest that if it was possible that in order for the States to receive the benefit of this legislation that if you have the same provisions like a no lien law there would be no children's obligation. I have had an experience with that myself. My savings have been wiped out twice through death and illness and I certainly would not ask any of my boys to contribute.
So those people who are here understand. Now let's give the Senators and Congressmen a little credit; they have started something, they have the Kerr-Mills bill. Now we want to keep that. Now we go along with the King-Anderson bill and that will be reached on the middle-class group. The hardest hit today is the middle-class group. That is, if you have a little money, but you are not in need; where if you have plenty of money, you are well taken care of.
Now there is one thing we must watch out for and that is that we don't take all the money; that is, that we don't substitute pills for bread. Now 40 percent of all the costs for taking care of our aged is for medical expenses. Out of that 40 percent, 85 percent of the money is spent for 15 percent of the people. Now 40 percent of the expenses get this in your mind, of your expenses is spent for medical and that 15 percent of the people receive 85 percent of the benefits.
Now we got a lot of people on the outside, and we want to take care of them through an increase in the social security, and we do not need a lot of these so-called experts riding on their back. If you want us to support some of these experts, we will pass the hat and take care of them. There are too many of them getting in the act, and there are too many of them riding on our back. Let them go to work. Let them make an honest living.
Senator, I don't like to say this publicly, but I wish you success in your future endeavors. You are coming down to our level.
Senator SMITH. Thank you.
STATEMENT OF ROBERT HAMIL, QUINCY, MASS., MEMBER,
FEDERAL RETIRED EMPLOYEES
Mr. HAMIL. Senator Smith, I come from Quincy. The majority of the people with their applause seem to favor this legislation with the exception of a small percentage out here. I want to go on record as saying I support this legislation.
Senator SMITH. Thank you very much.
STATEMENT OF CATHERINE B. BYRON, PRESIDENT, SUNSET CLUB,
Miss BYRON. My name is Catherine B. Byron, and I am the president of the Sunset Club of the city of Lawrence, Mass.
We senior citizens of the city of Lawrence would like to see the whole nursing service go into effect, especially for our aged that live alone. At the slightest illness our senior citizens are put into the hospital, and from the hospital to the nursing home.
The nursing homes that we have visited have been very undermanned due to the shortage of help in that particular field. In the old age housing projects we do think, too, that nursing service attached to each project would be most helpful. We think that the nursing service would be beneficial in many ways. It would take the burden off the hospitals and nursing homes and give our senior citizens a much better outlook for the future. Thank you.
Senator SMITH. Thank you very much, Miss Byron.
I might say at this point I know of the fine work the golden age group is doing in Lawrence. I had occasion just recently to visit their new civic center, which is certainly a great step in the right direction.
Miss BYRON. That is the Sunset Club, not the Golden Age Club.
STATEMENT OF JOHN F. KINDER, EXETER, R.I. Mr. KINDER. My name is John F. Kinder, and I come from Exeter, R.I.
I want to speak on the King-Anderson bill. I have read the bill, and I think the way it is written up is perfectly all right except the conjectural clause, the $10 deductible clause. About 60 percent of those on social security do not have sufficient income to even pay that much or even pay the office cost. So instead of full hospital care, it should be full medical care for the aged, even including the doctor's fees. Every door is closed to those on social security for an opportunity to strengthen their income in any manner.
I realize that a good many of the States have put up bills against discriminating in hiring the elderly. That is a good idea but the law will just stay the way it is because there is no way of proving a manufacturer did turn a man down on account of his age. The Government would have to give them the same right as they accord themselves, to select from a group of three which one they want to go to work. Therefore there is no way to enforce the hiring of the aged.
I would suggest that if they do not increase and cover all the medical aid they should set up some type of Federal employment for the aged with the State and the Federal Government cooperating together something like they did for the youth. They could set that up by having each State pick out what projects they wanted for their aged.
Give the aged an opportunity to earn enough to strengthen their income so they will be able to take care of themselves. There are many of those on social security that are trying to live on around $700 or $800 a year, which is impossible. It does not take much figuring to see that none of that could be put out for medical care. I know, I have needed medical care myself, and when you have to go and pay an office bill of $5 and you have to go three or four times a month and you are trying to take that out of $100 and meet your other expenses, you have not got it. So you have got to forego something or you have to forego the medical care.
There is no other way because you have not even got enough to take care of your immediate needs of food, housing, and so forth. So unless they pass the bill that will cover the full medical care, there will be 60 percent of those under social security unable to use it and the bill would not be very much good. Thank you.
Senator SMITH. Thank you very much.
STATEMENT OF MARY P. HUDDY, PRESIDENT, GOLDEN FELLOW
SHIP CLUB OF WOLLASTON, WOLLASTON, MASS. Mrs. HUDDY. Senator Smith and gentlemen, may we have a little change of pace for a moment. I am Mrs. Mary Huddy, president of the Golden Fellowship Club of Wollaston, the first club of its kind organized on the Southern Shore. We have over 100 members. Our particular problem is transportation. So many of our members are on either social security, which is low, or State aid. They cannot walk; they are old. Many of them are over 80. In fact, I am myself over 80 and I could not walk to the meetings.
Of course the South Shore may be a little different than some of the others but there were no transfers, I understand.
Talking with one of my ladies yesterday on the phone she explained her absence because she said it is two fares. Now she lives right in Quincy. That is 50 cents to come and 50 cents to go home. She only pays 10 cents when she comes and we serve them a beautiful lunch and they have a chance for recreation. In fact, it is rather a necessary place for many people who do not have the chance to mingle with others of their age.
Now I am wondering—of course this is more for the South Shorebut I am wondering why we in that age group could not be allowed a reduction of fare, the same as students have, then we could get to the meetings; we could enjoy the companionship of others, and I think it would be a rather healthy thing all through. Thank you.
Senator SMITH. Thank you very much.
STATEMENT OF SALVATORE ZAMMITTI, SOMERVILLE, MASS.
Mr. ZAMITTI. Senator Smith, ladies and gentlemen, I am not quite 65 yet. The present setup where you have a minimum of $40 a month and a maximum of $120 per couple—if someone is married, the wife is 4 or 5 years younger, I mean does not get any money for her so it is $120 a month; that is the maximum.
Now how in the world can any man in Washington pass up a bill for $40 a month minimum for somebody to retire at the age of 65 or $120 for a couple when if you get four or five or three rooms to live in it cost between $90 and $120 with gas, electricity, and whatever facilities you have? What about for clothing, heating, and everything?
Now of course the medical care has already been taken care of here and I am sure that they are going to do something about it because that is one of the main objectives to us elderly people. I hope, Senator, while you are here that you will take a message from these people here to Washington that the present setup as it is, $40 a month minimum and $120 per couple, it is a disgrace to this country when we feel proud of being Americans, good Democrats and the richest country in the world and we cannot give to other elderly people who are the pioneers of yesterday who have made conditions for the younger generation of today.
Now I know that my boys, if they go out and get a job they get $90 or $100 a week while I started with $5 a week. I worked hard about 48 years. I have a little money, yes, but how long is that going to last me if I get about $80 or $90 if I retire at the age of 62? Why in the last 6 or 7 months I have been out of work. The question of age comes up to the front now. “All right, we will get in touch with you.” What am I going to do meanwhile?
I have a little money in the bank. I take it out and before I know it I have to go on the welfare. What other people do not understand is that the money in welfare is paid through tax by other people who work. Well, why should the community have to pay so much money for welfare when we can have this money from the payroll of workers and the business people? I am sure that General Motors can surely pay a little more money to help the elderly people when they are retired, to get at least a minimum based on the cost of living, not just to get a crumb and give it to you like a dog and say that is all you get.
Now some of you gentlemen probably make $10,000, $15,000, $20,000 a year. That is all right, but what about the man that has been working all his life for $2,000 a year, $3,000? When you retire, how can
There are workers in the clothing industry, some of them I ask, What is the matter, 68 years old and you are working? What am I going to live with, $80 a month? How am I going to pay my rent? I never was on welfare; I have to go on welfare.
I have 1 year or 2 years of my life. Therefore, Senator Smith, I say this much, that the best thing to do if it can be done in Washington—I make this as a suggestion, I might be out of order—is that there should be no minimum and no maximum. There should be at least $200 a month for elderly people, at least as a minimum for everybody. I do not see why this specification. If I have been working for $2,000 a year, why should I get $40?
Now I come under the high bracket but that is beside the point. What about my next-door neighbor, he gets $70 or $60 a month? How is he going to live with that? Í make that as a suggestion and I hope they take it up.
Senator SMITH. Thank you.
STATEMENT OF HON. JULIUS ANSEL, WARD 14, STATE REPRESENTATIVE, GREAT AND GENERAL COURT OF MASSACHUSETTS
Mr. ANSEL. Senator Smith and members of your committee, I am Julius Ansel, of the Suffolk District. As a member of the legislature I want to commend you, Mr. Chairman, and your colleagues on this committee to study this problem. I think it is a contribution to whatever the future holds in store for our senior citizens.
I am going to be extremely brief. I know you want to hear from the citizens themselves. There are several problems that disturb me. We increased in the legislature the allocation for old-age assistance, and when the citizen went down to apply we found that they were computing the prior social security allowance and not collecting in toto the old-age assistance allowance increase made available by the great and general court.
This year, as a result of the increase of fares on the Metropolitan Transit Authority, which I opposed rather strenuously and I am still opposing, I filed a bill that will permit an increase of $10 a month on old age so that these men and women can get to their daily meetings and enjoy the social life which I think is important to them to their longevity of living. If that passes, the local welfare office will compute the social security allowance on a budgetary plan, they will get the total $10. That situation should be rectified.
I have been deluged by calls from men and women who would be entitled to an increase by the result of the allocation made possible by the legislation to find that in computing the total amount they were made ineligible.
No. 2, I want to talk about public housing. My distinguished colleague, Representative Harlan, who has been a fighter for housing in Massachusetts, filed a bill and' it was passed, $25 million one year and $35 million another. I think the Federal Government ought to demand of the housing authorities in Boston and in Massachusetts a speedy operation in the construction of public housing. And I do not think in connection with that, Mr. Chairman, that public housing on a Federal level ought to be factory structures. I think they ought to be homey, I think they ought to be accessible, and I do not think they should be projects like we have in Columbia Point.
I am giving you my thinking. We are in the majority. We will support any recommendations that your committee may determine that come under the jurisdiction of the State level. I hope the medical aid bill will pass. I hope the life of the elderly will be made more pleasant. Let's forget the price of the dollar. We spend millions across the ocean, let's spend millions for these men and women. Senator SMITH. Thank you very much.