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Seniors worried budget measures won't be enough

Marilyn Peers saw some new money for seniors in the federal budget, but the 77-year-old Halifax resident hoped for more.

Marilyn Peers saw some new money for seniors in the federal budget, but the 77-year-old Halifax resident hoped for more.

"It's going to be worse than better in the near future, and (seniors) have a lot of concern for our adult children, as well as how it will effect us," she says.

Peers and her husband are retired, and like many Canadian seniors, they rely on investment income. She hoped the government would freeze forced withdrawals from registered retirement investment funds, but instead the budget proposed a 25 per cent decrease in the mandatory withdrawal amount.

"We all wonder if are we going to have sufficient income for the remainder of our time because we don't have the time to build our investments back up again," she says.

She said the increase to the basic personal amount and increased income limits on the two lowest income tax brackets will help low and middle income seniors. The budget also held a $1,000 increase to the age credit for seniors.

Dr. Andrew Harvey, an economics professor at Saint Mary's University, says the benefit of age credit increase depends on the senior's income.

"From what I understand, for a senior making $20,000 it's only going to be a matter of a $33 tax savings. They'll be able to get an extra cup of coffee at Tim's a month or something," he said shortly after the budget was released.

Harvey says a budget increase to old age security and guaranteed income supplement could have meant stimulus for to the Atlantic provinces. A study he did last year showed one-third of the economy in Lunenburg is pension income spent by seniors.

"Anything that they do for the seniors is good, but unless they do a lot, it's still like blowing smoke in the wind," he says.

 
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