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Faces of Social Security: Gary Del Mastro

Lives simply on $600 a month

You bet! I really live just on Social Security. There are no jobs here for older men, even those like me who have university degrees and are willing to do anything. I pursued the American dream by opening my own small retail business.

Gary Del Mastro, 65, interviewed about social security

Gary Del Mastro, 65, Washington. — Photo by Jose Mandojana

I worked 18 hours a day, but had to compete with big business — my costs were higher and my income so low that the amount I paid into Social Security wasn't much. My monthly checks are about $600. I challenge anyone to pay rent (which I do) and cover expenses on that. I manage. I rent from a relative, don't turn on heat in winter or AC in summer, don't use a clothes dryer or an oven, ever, drive a 23-year-old car, use food stamps and coupons for groceries.

I'm sure there are others who live like me. Most would think we live stark and desperate lives. For me it's just the reality of living simply.

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

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