While there is no agreed-upon age when people become senior citizens, many believe that age is somewhere around 62 or 65. These are the ages associated with retirement and government programs for seniors such as Social Security or Medicare. However, any individual that is at least 55 years old can join the Association of Retired People (AARP) which focuses on benefits, interests and government programs for elderly people.
Individuals that are retired senior citizens often live on a fixed income because they are no longer generating wages through work. That makes it valuable to know about all the available benefits of being a senior citizen. These benefits are offered not only by federal, state and local governments, but on a business-to-consumer basis as well. If you are age 60 or over and living in the United States, it may be prudent to familiarize yourself with some of the benefits that are available to you.
When Does Retirement Benefit Senior Citizens?
Social Security benefits are over 60 benefits available to workers who take early retirement beginning at the age of 62. Full retirement occurs at age 65, 66 or 67, depending upon your year of birth. A worker may elect to wait past full retirement age to begin collecting benefits, depending upon his individual financial situation.
How much a worker receives will vary and depends upon the work history of the individual. Social Security is based upon how long the person worked and how much the individual earned in wages during his working lifetime prior to electing to receive benefits.
Once an individual has reached 59 1/2 years of age in the USA they can begin taking withdrawals from their retirement accounts without the 10 percent early withdrawal penalty. While there are certain circumstances that allow for an early withdrawal, they are for very specific life events. A person who has reached the age of 60 can withdraw for any reason, or not at all. Just be aware that required minimum distributions are mandated once the account holder reaches the age of 72 and all withdrawals may be subject to tax.
What About Healthcare Government Programs for Seniors?
Medicare is health insurance for those over age 65. Medicare has four parts which is a government program for seniors. Some of the Medicare parts have already been paid into by the taxpayer during their working years and other parts require deductibles or co-payments. The AARP is a great resource for learning more about the benefits of Medicare.
Part A is hospital insurance and covers such things as inpatient hospital stays, hospice or home health care. Part B is medical insurance and covers items such as a visit to a doctor, durable medical equipment and some preventive services. Part C is called Medicare Advantage and offers health plan options run by Medicare-approved private insurance companies. Medicare Advantage provides those services and benefits covered by Part A, Part B and Part D, which is prescription drug coverage.
Are There Government Programs for Elderly Homeowners?
Property tax refers to a tax paid by the owner of land, a home or a building. Some states have elected to offer property tax exemptions or rebates to certain classes of individuals in need of economic assistance, including senior citizens. Requirements for the programs vary by state.
In Pennsylvania, for example, as of the date of publication eligible residents who are 65 years old and meet income requirements may receive a rebate of property taxes paid. In South Dakota, eligible residents age 65 or older may receive a once-a-year refund of property or sales taxes paid.
What are Some Other Senior Benefits?
People age 50 and over may receive reduced prices for public transportation, insurance, retail purchases, movie tickets, car rentals and admission to theme parks. Such reductions are commonly known as a senior citizen discount. The types of discounts and the amounts will vary from business to business and state to state. Seniors often qualify by presenting a current driver's license or state-issued ID card, or another form of verification that proves their age.
Mack Mitzsheva is a tax lawyer, personal finance expert and the author of the forthcoming ebook, "10 Best Places to Work Online." Mitzsheva is also a social media entrepreneur with five successful sites under her belt. Always innovative, Mitzsheva is currently developing a cutting-edge budgeting app for newlyweds.