Personal Needs Allowance Cut Affects Seniors

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A 25% cut in personal needs allowance has some indigent seniors scrambling for help.

"I got to where I couldn't go out to eat. I didn't have the money," said nursing home resident Salome Vickers.

89-year-old Vickers is a resident at Sheridan Nursing home in Bryan.

A $15 reduction in her monthly personal needs allowance has left her struggling. Last year, the Texas legislature cut the allowance from $60 to $45.

Vickers said she hasn't been able to afford the things she needs, including new clothes after loosing weight from a sickness.

"It just put me in a bind, now that's all I've got to say and yes I was hurt when they done it," said Vickers.

Luckily she's crafty and has turned to crocheting to make a little extra money.

The cut has the attention of both District 17 candidates. Arlene Wolgemuth helped initiate the reduction.

$15 doesn't seem like much, but to some seniors and Chet Edwards it makes all the difference.

Wolgemuth said the cut was necessary to avoid raising taxes and eliminating drug benefits for those getting in-home care.

"The bill that I passed took administrative savings and put it into services. We were able to meet the needs of the neediest in our state, and preserve those benefits," said Wolgemuth.

But, Edwards calls the reduction mean spirited toward the elderly.

"They deserve better than to have misses Wolgemuth and this legislation rob them of their personal dignity in their later years in life," said Edwards.

Vickers saud she's not alone, others have it worse. All she can do is hope that things get better.