Donald Smith, 69, could see his pension benefits slashed by as much as a third if a plan to get Detroit out of bankruptcy is approved.
After decades of working as a civilian detention officer, among other city jobs, Smith retired in 2005.
He receives his pension from the Detroit General Retirement System, the pension fund for non-uniformed city workers that is facing deep cuts under the proposal filed in court last month.
Now, Smith stands to lose as much as $300 from his $889 in monthly pension benefits. Even with his Social Security payments, that would leave him with less than $1,600 a month to live on.
Smith said he is worried he won't be able to pay for his asthma and blood pressure medications. Already, he said he walks with a limp because he can't afford to properly treat his arthritis.
"I feel betrayed," he said. "It was in the constitution of Michigan that our pensions weren't supposed to be touched."