Worker 'Disgusted' When 74-Year-Old Coworker Ends Retirement After Just 2 Years To Go Back To Work

After a lifetime of paying into the system, it just wasn't enough money to survive.

elderly couple struggling over a budget Goksi / Shutterstock

Younger generations like millennials and Gen Zers frequently talk about retirement being a pipe dream. But increasingly, it's failing to be a reality for the elderly, including those who have retired and found that they simply can't get by on Social Security, Medicare, and retirement benefits.

A woman was left 'disgusted' after an elderly co-worker was forced to end her retirement and return to work.

We've all heard for decades how deep a financial crisis Social Security and Medicare are in, and that makes it easy to shrug off as just political bloviating.


But in recent years, the problem of America's woefully underfunded retirement safety net has become a very real and very shocking reality for seniors who realize the benefits they paid into their entire working lives don't remotely provide enough income.

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A woman on Reddit has seen personally how this shortfall is manifesting for some seniors when a co-worker she hadn't seen for two years suddenly showed back up at the workplace.

The elderly woman returned after two years of retirement because she could not live on Social Security, Medicare, and her pension.

"I just saw a coworker who I hadn't seen in a while because she had retired," the woman wrote in her post in the r/antiwork subreddit. "I asked why she came back and she said she and her husband can't afford to live on Social Security."

Even more shocking is the fact that the woman also had a pension — a benefit that has all but disappeared for the vast majority of workers. "Our company offers a pension, so she was getting that plus social security and they still couldn't make ends meet," the woman lamented, even after waiting until 72 to retire in the first place.

"It makes me sick to think of people who live in a wealthy country working until they drop," the woman went on to write. She went so far as to say she was "disgusted" to find out that the main reason the woman and her husband can't survive is because of medical bills that Medicare doesn't adequately cover.


Sadly, this woman's situation isn't unique, and it's a problem set to get far, far worse. Some 66% of American workers nearing retirement age are in an even more dire position than this elderly woman — they have no retirement savings or benefits to speak of besides Social Security and Medicare.

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Social Security and Medicare have been in financial crisis for decades, and with recent political and economic shifts, they are in more danger than ever before.

There are many reasons a large percentage of seniors are struggling in retirement nowadays or, as in this case, unable to retire at all.

Chief among them is that Social Security increases have not kept pace with inflation, meaning even the substantial increases in benefits of recent years have been gobbled up by high prices.

If you're among the younger generations, you've likely never even lived through an era when Social Security and Medicare were not said to be in constant financial crisis, especially when drastic cuts and reforms to these so-called "entitlements" have been among conservative politicians' main suggestions for dealing with issues like the national debt.


"Entitlements" is a clever way to speak about these benefits because it suggests that those of us who advocate for preserving them are simply lazy and greedy.

It never seems to occur to these politicians or their supporters that we have all been paying into Social Security and Medicare for our entire working lives. Hence, we are, yes, entitled to the benefits we've been sacrificing part of our paychecks for.

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It also shifts the blame for the Social Security and Medicare crises onto workers instead of the politicians who are actually running the country and the programs.

There are several causes for the crisis, among which are the steady slashing of corporate tax rates over the past 50-60 years and parts of the tax code that place the burden of funding these programs almost solely on the backs of low and middle-income workers, despite the fact that even the Jeff Bezoses and Bill Gateses of the country are entitled to draw a Social Security check too.

Accordingly, some politicians have proposed changing the various tax codes so that corporations, which are taxed at the same rate as you and I when it comes to these programs, and the rich, who comparatively barely are at all, pay their fair share. But conservatives, of course, have a different idea.



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New Speaker of the House, Mike Johnson, a far-right, evangelical Christian conservative, has proposed cutting Social Security and Medicare so drastically they would basically cease to exist, and has joined other Republicans in calling for a closed-door commission to manage them so that the American people will have little to no transparency in how the programs they fund from their paychecks are being handled.

Even more drastic, Johnson has proposed implementing further restrictions on reproductive freedom to ensure women are birthing enough workers into the workforce to adequately fund the programs through payroll taxes.



Aside from the obviously dystopian nature of this proposal, this again shifts the burden onto rank-and-file workers who are already paying significant chunks of every paycheck to fund the programs — with no real hope for many of us of ever accessing the benefits, since the programs are widely believed to be bankrupt by 2035.


Long story short? Call your representatives and demand better. And remember that there are state and local elections next week and a national election exactly one year from now. Choose wisely.

The elderly being forced out of retirement in the wealthiest country on Earth because the benefits they've paid for all their lives are inadequate is absurd and barbaric. Enough is enough.

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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice and human interest topics.