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Report Finds Many Mass. Seniors Living In Economic Insecurity

An annual report out of the University of Massachusetts Boston finds three in five single seniors in Massachusetts face insecurity in covering the cost of their most basic living expenses.

The Elder Economic Security Standard Index, which was released last week with the "Insecurity in the States 2016" report, calculates the cost of living for adults aged 65 years or older based on housing, transportation, food and health care.

Those costs come out to nearly $28,000 in 2016 for a single senior who rents housing in Massachusetts. And 61 percent of seniors living alone have trouble affording that. (Nineteen percent are below the federal poverty line, and 42 percent are "in the gap" between the poverty line and the state's Elder Index.)

That's second only to Mississippi, which has 64 percent of single seniors below that state's index.

Study co-author Jan Mutchler says many seniors do not receive financial assistance.

"There are a lot of people who don't qualify for those programs or supports and yet they are struggling," Mutchler said.

The report finds that five of the six relatively high-cost New England states are among the top 10 in the nation with seniors facing the most economic insecurity.

With reporting by Qainat Khan for WBUR; additional reporting by WBUR's Benjamin Swasey

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