Brenda, 56, is disabled and receives $735 per month in SSI benefits and $151 in SNAP benefits to help pay for groceries.
Brenda used to work in nursing homes as a CNA until she was diagnosed with neuropathy in both legs. “I no longer have feeling in either leg,” she said. Brenda and her husband Ben are trying to make ends meet with only one income after Ben recently suffered a stroke. “I’ve been thinking about letting one of my loans go until I can get caught up on some of my other loans,” Brenda said. “I’ve got one loan, three credit card debts and a phone bill. I know some people say that ain’t really too much, but when you only have one check coming in each month, it don’t take that long to run it out. Once that check is gone near the first of the month, that’s it, you have to wait until the next, following month.”
“Socioeconomic status is the most powerful predictor of disease, disorder, injury and mortality we have,” says Tom Boyce, MD, chief of UCSF’s Division of Developmental Medicine within the Department of Pediatrics. Socioeconomic status is a term that often includes measurements of income, education, and job prestige – individually or in combination. The predictive power of income alone is perhaps most obvious when considering life expectancy. Impoverished adults live seven to eight years less than those who have incomes four or more times the federal poverty level, which is $11,770 for a one-person household, whether you live in Silicon Valley, the Rust Belt or the rural South.