Discover the New Learn more



Happy African American couple
AARP Auto Buying Program

Most Popular


Free Fun!

AARP Games - Play Now!


Best Employers for Workers Over 50

See the latest winners of this AARP recognition program.

Employer Resource Center

Attract and retain top talent in a changing workforce.

Faces of Social Security: D. Irene Ramirez

Lives solely on benefits

I live solely on Social Security now. I'm disabled with clinical depression, fibromyalgia and Lyme's disease. I live on $607 a month. More than half of it goes to rent. Most of the rest goes for telephone and utilities and a loan I had to take out for dental care. I've had to quit paying other bills. Creditors call and tell me I'm responsible for what I owe them. I listen to them and I agree. I am responsible. But I have no income to pay them. I just say, "I'm sorry, I just can't pay you."

Irene Ramirez answered questions about socialsecurity

D. Irene Ramirez, 64, California. — Photo by Daniel Hennessey

I get $134 a month in food stamps. Sometimes I buy rice and eat that for a week. I don't have a car. I take the bus to the grocery store and the doctor. They cut off the cable, so I have no TV. I found an Internet service provider for $20 a month — I have to have some entertainment. I go to different sites like Facebook and one for people who love music. When they said during the debt ceiling talks that there might be no Social Security checks, I can't begin to tell you how I felt. I feel like I'm living on borrowed time as far as paying for basic necessities. I just don't know what to say.

Return to the Faces of Social Security slide show. >>

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts


Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.


Jobs You Might Like

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Member Benefits Cricket Wireless Cellular

Members can save $20 on wireless devices from Cricket. Conditions apply.

membership adt

Small business owners save 20% on new installation of any new ADT security system.

UPS Store membership discount aarp benefits

Members save 15% on eligible products/services and 5% on UPS shipping at The UPS Store®.

Member Benefits

Renew today! Members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.

Rewards for Good

Your Points Balance:

Learn More

Earn points for completing free online activities designed to enrich your life.

Find more ways to earn points

Redeem your points to save on merchandise, travel, and more.

Find more ways to redeem points


Advance your skills. Transform your career.

Explore your learning possibilities.