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STATEMENT OF JOSEPH LANGWEIL, VICE PRESIDENT, JEWISH
ADULT CLUB, QUINCY, MASS. Mr. LANGWEIL. Senator Smith, my name is Joseph Langweil, vice president of the Jewish Community Adult Club. Also, I am a veteran of World War I. I have belonged to the International Typographical Union for over 42 years. I am a pensioner.
The social security was based on the pension of my union. We have had a pension for 55 years and it has increased. At the present time I ain in favor of the King-Anderson bill as we have today the social security which is law. We feel any time that we want to retire we take that privilege.
I am what you call the middle class. We feel that the medical bills are getting higher and are getting so that our resources are getting lower. We, a rich country like ours that can boast a high standard of living, why can't we now take care of our aged in the medical field so that we can boast throughout the world that we are taking care of them?
The Kerr-Mills bill is inadequate. Who wants to go before any committee under the Kerr-Mills bill and beg for charity? We have paid the social security which is the greatest thing in the world: It is cheap and it is reasonable and we get good service out of it. Why can't we have an improvement on the medical aid so that we can have more money?
We do not save the money that we get from our social security: We distribute it so that we can all have more buying power so that you will not have any depressions. There are a lot of things I can talk on in the Social Security Act, but let us look at it on the human side, not on the materialistic side. Why worry about debts and all that? We have come through it all the time. Let us take it as a human way so that we can go on and advance to show the world that we mean what we say, that we have the highest standard of living in the world. Thank you. . Senator SMITH. Thank you very much.
STATEMENT OF HELENA HERIOT, BOSTON, MASS. Mrs. HERIOT. I am Mrs. Helena Heriot and I live here in Boston. I am 84 years old and have worked until 2 years ago. Two years ago they raised my rent from $145 to $200. I am not on an old-age pension. I had a little nest egg which I have used up, mostly on medicine and rent. Last month I was not able to pay my rent. They wanted to know if I would give them my social security check, which I did. Two days later he attached my savings account and I didn't know it and I sent out bills for my electricity and my gas and telephone which were all shut off.
Now this month I did not have the money to pay the rent, so yesterday I got a sheriff's notice that they will "sheriff” me out in 14 days. I have lived here in this one apartment for 25 years. I have paid $70,000 in rent. I had a small rooming house on Commonwealth Avenue. Now I am not the only widow in that building who has suffered from these owners. They change hands about every 2 years. The new owner has come in now and has ordered me out, sheriffed” me out. I have spent a great deal of money on doctors bills and now I have not any money to pay my rent. Thank you. STATEMENT OF JOSEPH ROSEN, VICE PRESIDENT, GOLDEN AGE
CLUB, DORCHESTER, MASS. Mr. Rosen. Ladies and gentlemen, my name is Joseph Rosen. I live in Dorchester. I am going to be 70 pretty soon. I am a senior citizen. I am a vice president of the Golden Age Club and I represent over 350 members in our club. I want to say I did not prepare any speech but I talk from my heart because I know the people in our club, all independent people. Some had small grocery stores, some had other business; they were always independent, they never asked anybody for anything. I know most of them do not have a bank account to live with when they get to this age. They cannot afford any luxuries; they cannot go to their doctor any time they get sick.
They are too proud to go get in some hospitals. They go around from one place to another to find out why they did not go to the other place, why they come here. These people that do not go when they get sick, they suffer because they do not have a $10 bill to pay their doctor. That is why I say that this medical bill should go through now. They should not hide it under the table like they do all the time. Thank you very much.
Senator Smith. Thank you very much. I appreciate this testimony and I know it does come from the heart, and I know the testin of all these people that are talking here comes from the heart.
STATEMENT OF ROSE SHOCK, FRIENDLY GOLDEN AGE CLUB,
Mrs. SHOCK. Senator Smith and senior citizens, my name is Rose Shock. I belong to the Friendly Golden Age Club in Providence, R.I. I am here under the sponsorship of the Jewish Community Center.
I am 100 percent in favor of the medical bill and I am also in favor of this social security. I am a Gold Star Mother, I lost my boy in the war, and I get a little money. Social security, I have been getting lately $29.90 and that was raised to $39.90. Now I am getting $42.90.
I moved into an apartment 16 years ago for $45.60. I am paying $90 today, and how can I live? Where will I get money for food, for clothing, and medical expenses? It just happens I am still a little on the go and I work a little bit, but that won't last forever.
I said this in Rhode Island to some of our conferences, that I am in favor of and I would like to ask you to pass this bill.
My husband died, and now all his belongings belong to me. Why can't the widow get the same social security the husband was supposed to get ?
I want to repeat what other speakers have said here to you, Senator Smith.
I would like to say to the young fellow that spoke here before, we are the senior citizens that lived in cold-water flats; we are the senior citizens that give the boys and girls a fit world to live in; we are the ones that walked miles and miles to a bus. Some of you have three automobiles in your garages, some of them have at least two. Now we come to you. You should help us to fight the bill, that we should live a little more comfortable. You have air conditioning, steam heat; we didn't have it when we were your age.
We did all kinds of work; we worked 12 hours a day, day and night. We were the ones that were fighting for 8 hours a day. Some of you work less, you make 10 times as much money. This was not the place for you to come and say what you said.
I am glad, and I want you to know that we depend on you. Yes; you are going to pay higher taxes, but it is worth it. We made a beautiful America for you, it took us to do it. We were glad to do it. Thank you.
Senator SMITH. To the ladies and gentlemen that come from Providence, R.I., I would like to point out you have two very able Senators from your State, Senator Pastore and Senator Pell, who are extremely interested in this problem, this great problem of the aged.
STATEMENT OF WILLIAM X. WALL, LAWRENCE, MASS, MEMBER
OF THE STATE SENATE
Mr. WALL. Mr. Chairman, Senator Benjamin Smith, and members of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Matters of the Aging, I have been keenly interested in the problems of our increasing number of older citizens. It is my opinion that many great problems faced by older people arise because most of them have extremely low incomes. The public must be educated to the fact that because age has come to an individual it does not mean that he or she must be discarded as useless. I think our society now is beginning to awaken to the fact that the nimbleness and dexterity of youth along with this instability is a poor replacement for the patience, the wisdom, the experience, the reliability, and the stability of the individual advancing in years. On the other hand, there are those who are unable to be gainfully unemployed and must be cared for.
With reference to housing for elderly people I would like to say that the need of companionship with others of like age who share the common mutual problem known only to the elderly is crying for recognition. This situation manifests itself in the desire on the part of the elderly to have their independence and to be as independent in old age as they were over the span of a lifetime.
A large part of our aged population must live in totally inadequate rooming or lodging houses often located in the slums due to the fact that rents are relatively high and beyond the reach of the aged. Some of the most disgraceful housing is that occupied by the aged. Although the problems of the aging are the responsibility of individual local governments and the State, this entire matter is increasing steadily with each passing year due to the increased number of older people living longer, and Federal assistance is desperately needed to aid in reaching a satisfactory solution.
Mr. Chairman, with age usually comes increasing health problems. This comes at a time when the income has been sharply reduced. Many persons postpone going to the doctor or buying essential drugs because to do so would mean less food or draining on their savings.
Mr. Chairman, I would like to conclude and say that research is needed to establish the maximum level of patient care at the level of the majority of the aged's financial resources. Research is, of necessity, a slow-moving process but I am sure that with everyone feeling the urgent need of satisfactory provision for the senior citizen, assistance will be available at every turn to the end that a desirable solution will not be long in coming to us all.
I think, Mr. Chairman, you must have noticed by now that although the responsibility for the aged is a local one, the crying need for Federal assistance is openly apparent to all interested in this problem. Without such assistance for the low-cost housing already instituted in Massachusetts for the senior citizen would not have been possible. This type of housing is exceedingly popular and the demand far exceeds the available facilities.
I regret, Mr. Chairman, Senator Smith, that you were not able to visit two of our institutions, and at this time I would like to invite you to observe the above-standard administration to the aged and infirmed at the Protectory of Mary Immaculate at Lawrence and St. Ann's Home for the Aged under the supervision of our illustrious humanitarian, Richard Cushing, archbishop of Boston.
Mr. Chairman, you congratulated the senior citizens of Lawrence in your visit the other day. I now congratulate you for the time you spent at Lawrence and what you are going to do for the senior citizens in Lawrence.
Mr. Chairman, I would like to close my remarks and make this observation. I say this from the bottom of my heart. Our senior citizens should be able to spend the rest of their lives, if they wish, watching the robins in the spring and the leaves tumbling in the fall in reasonable comfort. Let us see that they have it.
Mr. Chairman, thank you for allowing me to present my views as I believe them to exist today.
STATEMENT OF LEON MOORE, GOLDEN AGE COUNCIL,
Mr. MOORE. I am in favor of the King-Anderson bill.
My name is Leon Moore. I am here in three capacities: (1) As a citizen of the United States; (2) as a full-time worker in charge of the Golden Age Club in Boston, you heard from our vice president; and (3) I am also the coadviser to the Golden Age Council of Greater Boston which represents 18 Jewish community clubs.
I and my organization for which I work are 100 percent in favor of the King-Anderson bill. We feel, and I certainly do feel, that the AMA constantly stresses the fact that this is going to lead to socialized medicine. I do not feel that, and I am speaking as a member of the youth and younger generation. We, the younger generation, have Blue Cross, Blue Shield to cover any unforseen things that do happen to us. They constantly say this will lead up to the socialized medicine in our age group. I do not think this.
As a further instance of belief in the King-Anderson bill the Golden Age Council—I would like this for the record—is going to have on Sunday, January 21, at the Cradle of Liberty, a mass meeting. We are inviting all the Golden Age Clubs of all of Massachusetts and we wish that, if possible, the Senator would come. We would certainl want him. We are going to have a prominent speaker.
Also in conjunction with this we are having petitions sent out to all the Golden Age Clubs throughout the State of Massachusetts favoring the King-Anderson bill. Right after this mass meeting, about a week or two later, I personally am going to Washington with the representatives of the Golden Age Council
and present these bills to Senator Humphrey himself.
Senator SMITH. Thank you very much.
I want to say at this time that in my travels throughout the Commonwealth and the hearings we have held in Hartford and Springfield before coming here to Boston that the attitude of this young man who just spoke before you is indicative of the feeling of many, many, many of the young people of this Commonwealth. I know it is true throughout the Nation. These people are ready now to help, not thinking about taking care of themselves in their old age but are thinking of the elderly people that have already reached their old age. These people as far as I can see are ready to make the sacrifice
STATEMENT OF GERTRUDE O'LEARY, BOSTON, MASS. Mrs. O'LEARY. Senator Smith and our American citizens, I want to refer to the Kerr-Mills bill. My name is Gertrude O'Leary and I am a Bostonian.
I wrote to Washington and asked for a copy of the social security amendments in which the Kerr-Mills bill was contained. I received it and I called city hall. They did not know anything about what I was referring to. I also called the statehouse. They did not know what I was talking about.
My mother is 85. She was operated on in the Boston City Hospital in January. My father died when I was 16 and we have always had to work. At present I am not working. I was retired on account of my health. I did manage to go to school and graduate with a degree in advanced bookkeeping in 1956. I worked for a short time and the doctor ordered me off the job.
I would like to say that former Secretary of Labor Mitchell spoke about this. Now there is no reason why a person should not be able to work over 40 because I still think people 70 and 80 can still work as long as they have ability to work. Age has nothing to do with ability.
When some woman from the welfare came out to the house and inquired about the hospital payments, I asked this woman what was the amount of the hospital bill and she said she did not know. She asked me how much of a pension I was receiving. I said, if you don't know what the hospital bill is, I refuse to answer your question. So she asked my mother.
I think the Kerr-Mills bill is really starting off to be a good thing, but being handled by the welfare I do not think it is being handled properly because the welfare still thinks a person is really looking for charity when actually they are not because my mother did not ask for welfare, she asked for medical assistance. I am still waiting to hear from the welfare with regard to this particular thing. I still think that there should be some way of helping a person to rehabilitate himself so that he can be able to continue on and work and not be prevented from doing so because of age.
Senator SMITH. Thank you very much.