Heartland seniors concerned over debt ceiling debate

SOUTHERN ILLINOIS (KFVS) - The deadline for raising the debt ceiling is just days away. But as law makers in Washington continue work to hash out a plan, many here in the Heartland watch with great concern. One those people is 65-year-old Kenneth Robinson.

"It's just terrorizing to think that they could mess up our retirement benefits including social security and Medicare," Robinson said.

Robinson is one of the younger seniors to visit the Senior Fair in Carbondale. Emma Smith, who is 90-years-old, stopped by the AARP booth to chat about what's going on in the Capitol.

Smith says while social security is not her main source of income, it's still important. She adds it's frustrating to watch those who were voted into office not work together.

"They're not thinking about the people and they're there to represent the people," Smith said.

President Obama says he can't guarantee social security checks if lawmakers don't find a comprise and raise the debt ceiling. But unlike Smith, many seniors do rely on those checks to live.

"Many of them it's their main, primary source of income, that's how they pay their bills, how they buy their groceries and everything," said Lavern Dietz with AARP.  "That's why we're concerned."

AARP has taken that concerned to its members. It's now asking them to call their federal law makers and urge them to keep funding social security.

Meanwhile Robinson, like many others, has a message for those battling over the debt crisis.

"Learn to comprise, stop being political and think of what's best for the country and not best for their re-election," Robinson said.

The treasury department says lawmakers have until Tuesday to reach a deal on the debt limit. After that, it says the U.S. may not be able to pay its bills. Americans could also face rising interest rates and a declining dollar, among other problems.

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