It’s been fairly clear that medical expenses were becoming an immense financial drain on the elderly. If you are elderly or have an elderly loved one, then this is a given, as supported by recent census data. As reported in Reuters, the number of poor persons hit a record high in 2010, and poverty rates among the elderly have had the steepest gain. In fact, according to the census, a record 49 million Americans (i.e., 16 percent of the population) qualify as impoverished. When it comes to the elderly, the poverty level jumped to 15.9 percent, or roughly 1 in 6, from the previous year’s nine percent. It’s true that the census study and methods have become a political flashpoint. However, the new analysis takes a broader look at life and includes government benefits. Previous studies used older methods that failed to account for how people maintained their standard of living. Politics aside, it’s still a sobering data. If government benefits have become that much more of the equation, then it goes a long way towards showing what’s at stake in the present and upcoming political storms.