Retirement for many low-income seniors is receding into the future, according to a new survey of unemployed seniors age 55 and older with limited financial resources. Ninety-two percent of seniors in this category said they plan to work for at least the coming five years either because they need the money or because they desire to do so. Of those with a retirement date in mind, the average target was 72 years.
The survey of 2,072 seniors enrolled in the Senior Community Service Employment Program, a job training program for low-income older workers funded by the U.S. Department of Labor, found that 45 percent had expected to be retired at this point in their lives, with 28 percent having retired once only to be forced back into the work force. Sixty-eight percent reported their retirement income to be inadequate to live on.
In many cases, a life event triggered their application to the jobs program, such as being laid off from their previous job (20 percent), the death of a spouse (16 percent) or medical bills for themselves or their spouses (15 percent). Forty-six percent expressed their concern that they might lose their home or apartment, and the same percentage reported sometimes going without food or medicine or falling behind in the rent.