Perhaps you’ve passed a large milestone birthday and you’re starting to wonder, “Am I old enough to be considered a senior now?” The more important question to ask is whether or not you can start enjoying the benefits of being a senior citizen now (those senior discounts are everywhere!). Some places will start honoring your seniority far earlier than others. The earliest age to begin enjoying “senior benefits” would be at 50 and the latest would be at 67 years. Surprisingly, the age range to be considered a senior is quite vast. You can be considered a senior when you are anywhere from 50 to 65 years old, and you might get a different answer depending on who you ask. In any case, there is plenty to know about hitting this milestone. When you hit the age of retirement or become a senior, you’ll need to be conscious of some lifestyle changes, as well the benefits that apply to you during this stage of life. Here are some changes that come with being a senior.
Access To Government Programs
As you are aging into your golden years, you’ll have to consider the changes that will come into your health and lifestyle, which includes changes made to your health insurance plans as well as retirement benefits. This is the time when you can start accessing government programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, as well as your invested retirement funds.
According to government programs such as Medicare, you can start benefiting from the program if you are 65 years or older. You must apply at least 4 month in advance before your 65th birthday in order to have coverage as you turn 65. Medicare is a government-sponsored health insurance program that is divided into 4 different parts. Part A provides coverage for hospital stays as well as nursing home facilities and hospice care. Part B provides medical insurance covering doctors’ services, medical supplies, and preventative care. Part D covers prescription drugs, and Part C is coverage that is a blend of all three.
Medicaid is also government-sponsored health coverage specifically for those in lower-income brackets. Medicaid is distributed accordingly by each state. This means that qualifying for Medicaid will also vary by each state’s regulations. Unlike Medicare, Medicaid can cover the elderly as well as adults, children, pregnant women, and the disabled.
With the Social Security Administration, you reach “full retirement” at 67 if you are born later than the year 1960. The earliest you can start to receive the full benefits of retirement is at age 62. However, if you begin taking social security at 62 you will also face a greater reduction in your monthly benefits than if you were to later. The average reduction percentage for taking social security at 62 is 30%.
Accessing Retirement Savings
When it comes to accessing your retirement savings, you are required by law to start withdrawing from your 401 (k) by the age of 70 ½. However, you have unpenalized access to your funds when you are 59 ½. Under certain circumstances, you could withdraw your money from your 401 (k) when you are 55 years old. In cases of federal safety workers such as those in federal law enforcement, federal firefighters, and air-traffic controllers, you can begin withdrawal at age 50.
Whenever your age of retirement is, there are many benefits that begin for you when you turn 50. For example, organizations such as AARP, the American Association of Retired Persons, open membership at age 50. Along with becoming a AARP member, you can enjoy benefits such as discounted fares for hotels, travel, restaurants, insurance, and many retails stores. Many retailers will also have discounts for seniors. These places include movie theatres, restaurants, gyms, clothing stores, and more. To read more on senior discounts, visit our blog for our senior lifestyle articles.