About 9 months ago, the President of the United States issued a stark, morose message to Americans, casting us into two groups. Not Democrat and Republican, as one might expect. But vaccinated and unvaccinated.
“For unvaccinated, we are looking at a winter of severe illness and death… for themselves, their families and the hospitals they’ll soon overwhelm,” Biden continued. “But there’s good news. If you’re vaccinated, and you have your booster shot, you’re protected from severe illness and death, period.”
In the Age of Autism Community, we believe in medical freedom and choice for readers and for your children. We have readers who were compelled to take the Covid vaccine, and readers who will never take one. All welcome. We know that President Biden's words did not come true, neither the praise nor the punishment.
Today, in the colder climates, we are looking at a Winter of severe prices and struggle. Autism families are not exempt from the vagaries of the economy, in fact, I think we are hit harder than most. Autistic adults who rely on Supplemental Security Income live below the poverty line unless someone (raise your hand with me) subsidizes them. Inflation is catastrophic for the autistic.
AofA is "Headquartered" (yes, you may chortle) in Connecticut. We're in the region called New England, and our weather has cold, snowy and icy winters. We're also one of the oldest regions in the country; our homes are ancient by standards in most other areas of the country and converting to natural gas is often expensive and impossible. According to Massachusetts statistics, 48% of residents heat their homes with fuel oil, electricity, propane and wood, with fuel oil having the largest share behind natural gas. I decided to look at the price of fuel oil in my area. The last time we saw such high prices was in 2014. A fuel oil tank holds 275 gallons. A full tank fill this week will cost $1262.25. Usage averages 10 gallons a DAY in the dead of winter. That's less than a month of fuel. One thousand two hundred and sixty two dollars a month. The average Social Security benefit for the elderly is just over $1500. The highest SSI benefit is just over $800.
Heating cost is just one home economics line item skyrocketing. Food. Auto fuel. Electricity. Water. All of our basic necessities are under pressure. If you need help, there are programs through your supplier. Your electric company can run a low or no cost energy audit, help with insulation and other ways to save money.
I'm worried. For the elderly, the low income, families already stretched to their limit. Far more than I was worried on December 17, 2021 when our President gave his warning.