Seniors: We need our Social Security!

@CNNMoney July 30, 2011: 10:57 AM ET

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Don't you dare withhold our Social Security payments!

That's the message senior citizens and the disabled are sending to President Obama and Republican lawmakers. They are making it very clear that they don't want to suffer the fallout of the debt ceiling squabbles in Washington, D.C.

Hundreds of readers wrote to CNNMoney saying how much they depend on Social Security payments to keep a roof over their heads, food on the table and medicine in their cabinet. Even a one-month delay could wreak havoc on their lives, not to mention send their stress levels soaring.

Libby Rowe already knows how she'll use her Aug. 3 Social Security disability check, which comes to about $1,000. She needs it to pay the mortgage and utility bills. If it doesn't arrive, she won't be able to put gas in her car and will have to cut back on groceries.

"I have no one else to depend on but that check," said Rowe, 54, who lives in Bunker Hill, W.Va. "I live month-to-month. It's a lifeline."

If the Obama administration does withhold some or all of the 55 million Social Security payments set to go out in August, several recipients said they will ask their banks to let them delay their mortgage payments.

The first call Sherry Carson will make if she doesn't receive her $967 Social Security check will be to Wells Fargo. Carson, who said she's never been late on a bill, hopes the bank will let her postpone August payment.

"It bothers me terribly," said Carson, 63, of Watkinsville, Ga., whose neck is hurting from all the additional stress. "I'm very proud to have always paid on time."

Doctors, hospitals fear getting stiffed by U.S.

Lynne Perry isn't holding out hope that her bank will help her. The Penfield, N.Y., resident called a few weeks ago and the representative told her she must make her payment.

"They said if the government defaults on me, I still have an obligation not to default on them," said Perry, 56, who gets by on a Social Security disability payment and some earnings from her Web design firm, LynSys Software Services.

Perry doesn't know what expenses she can cut if she doesn't receive her $1,735 check. She doesn't have cable and drives a 21-year-old car. At worst, she'll have to give up her cats.

"I already don't have a lot of luxuries," she said.

For some, a loss of Social Security income could mean a loss of independence.

Charles Tanner moved to an apartment near his daughter's home in Lexington, Ohio, after his wife died. It's important to the 81-year-old former welder to live on his own.

But if he stops receiving his $1,400 Social Security check, he doesn't know how he'll be able to pay the rent in coming months. That means he'd have to move in with his daughter.

"It would be a sorry day if it happens," said Tanner.

Many seniors are outraged at the political gamesmanship underway in the nation's capital.

Jeani Crowe is having trouble sleeping because she's concerned about how the debt ceiling impasse will impact her family and other Americans.

She and her husband have enough savings to get by for a month. But if they don't get their September Social Security check, they'll have to ask their children for help paying for prescriptions and car insurance.

The 65-year-old worries about those who don't have families who can help them. She's mad at the politicians in Washington for letting the impasse get this far.

"I don't know how anyone with a conscience can let our country get to this state just to make a point," said Crowe, who lives on a farm outside Fallon, Nev. To top of page

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