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Secours catholique warns about the return of poverty among seniors

In its annual report, the association warns about the increased precariousness in the over 60s, which it observes on the ground.

The poverty of the elderly, a social phenomenon that had faded with the improvement, for the last fifty years, of the pensions, becomes again topical. This is one of the conclusions of Secours catholique which publishes, Thursday, November 8, its annual report drawn from its field experience with 722 000 adults and 640 700 children met in 2017, in its offices and accompanied by its volunteers. "They are not a "representative sample" 8.8 million people living below the poverty line, since those we receive live with, on average, 540 euros per month which places them in great poverty, but the evolution from one year to the next allows us to detect weak signals: the return of senior poverty is one of them », alert Véronique Fayet, president of Secours Catholique.

"It's a life of hardship"

Céline, 62, after forty-two years of hard work, including thirty-eight in collective catering, finds herself widowed, with a pension of 1,000 euros per month. After deduction of all fixed costs related to the house, in the Maine-et-Loire, which she owns, local taxes, insurance, and her mutual, she has only 400 euros for everything else: "I still do not heat because electric heating is expensive and wood has doubled in price in a few years. It's a life of deprivation, no outings or invitations, no hairdresser or restaurant or cinema, no internet, no purchase in a clothing store … I have, for example, to change my braces, but I do not have the 750 euros it takes to complete the support by my mutual ", she testifies.

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The difficult fate of unemployed seniors and pensioners

The over-60s represent 10% of the people welcomed last year by Secours Catholique and their proportion has doubled since 2010. These are mostly men and women alone, with staggered careers, who receive very small pensions solidarity allowance for the elderly (ASPA, old minimum old age pension), 833.20 euros since the 1st April 2018). There are also people who can no longer work but are not yet retired.

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Living with less than 800 euros a month in France

This is the case of Emilia Naly who, after a career as a nurse for thirty-three years, finds herself, due to a serious illness, disability and early retirement, with the ASPA for any income: "I make choices: pay my rent HLM 108 euros after allowance, and fortunately I have that; all the electricity bills, taxes, water, housing tax, they just have to wait! I go to the grocery store, which doubles my food budget. And most importantly, I have my family, my "clan", of which I do not accept money, only services: my son who takes me to the show and offers me books; my sister who, when she goes shopping, brings me some meat or a chicken; for transport, I enjoy the social rate to 18 euros per month, instead of 75 euros, but especially, as I do not have much autonomy, my nephew lends me his car to save time. It is not because we are in difficulty that we must not go out, be connected to the world. "

Mme Naly, volunteer of Secours Catholique and one of the eight members of the college "People in precarious situation" at the National Council of policies to combat poverty and social exclusion, does not hide his anger against the social policy of the government: "That we cut electricity to Emmanuel Macron, let him see what it does! "she smiles.

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