People over 50 are always confused about if they are in the senior citizen age. They want to know “What is the senior citizen age?”, “How old is a senior citizen?”, “Is 55 a senior citizen?”, “Is 60 years old considered a senior citizen?”, or “When do I become a senior citizen?” something like that.
A senior citizen is an elderly person, especially one who is retired and living on a pension. Some dictionaries define “senior citizen” as a person over the age of 65. In everyday speech, the term is often shortened to “senior.” In legislation, the term applies to the age at which pensions, social security or medical benefits for the elderly become available.
So what age is considered to be a senior citizen? Let’s see the data from after 55:
U.S. Census Bureau: 37.8 and 65
The median age of the U.S. population is 37.8. Half of Americans are below that age; half are above. So, once you reach 38 years old, you’re statistically on the “senior” side of the population. Feeling old now?
Generally, however, the U.S. Census Bureau lumps Americans age 65 and over into the “older population” category. In the 2010 census, 13% of citizens were in that senior category. You can expect that percentage to increase, too. Census projections show that by 2060 the senior population will double, from 46 million in 2014 to 98 million in 2060. That will make seniors 24% of all Americans.
This aging population is what’s causing lawmakers and others to reassess and bump back the “senior citizen” line.
Senior Discounts: 55, 60, 62, 65
Many older people complain about the “senior citizen” label, saying they don’t feel old. However, here’s the good news: Those few extra years can pay off in big savings with senior discounts.
A few senior discounts start as early as age 50, especially with an AARP card (see above). But the senior savings really kick in at ages 55 and 60, with a few businesses and organizations making you wait until 62 or 65.
Senior Housing: 55 and 62
The federal government’s Housing for Older Persons Act is the source of 55+ and 62+ senior housing, including senior apartments, independent living, and retirement communities. This act sets aside a special status for housing communities in which the majority of residents are age 55 or older or all the residents are age 62 or older.
Retirement Plans: 59.5 and 70.5
The IRS has an odd obsession with half years. With some exceptions, if you tap a pension plan, 401k or IRA before age 59.5, you may have to pay a 10% early withdrawal penalty tax. After 59.5, you can withdraw from retirement plans without a penalty if you are not working. If you are employed, check with your plan holder on specific rules. Generally, you must start receiving payouts the year you hit 70.5.
Driver Licenses: 64–80
We recently looked into the extra scrutiny that states place on older drivers when it comes time to renew a license. Among major retirement states, special policies for senior drivers kicked in as young as age 64 in Georgia to age 80 in Florida. Most of the states require a vision test for those older drivers.
You can enroll in the federal health insurance program at age 65. You can sign up even if you’re not receiving Social Security yet. As noted below, that’s good since the Social Security age has become a moving target.
Social Security: 65, 66 and 67
Uncle Sam is your most important judge, of course. In the United States, past generations were considered to have reached full retirement age at 65. In recent years, however, legislation has moved the age requirement for full benefits from 65 to 67. The reasons cited: Older people are healthier, and average life expectancy is increasing, as noted above by the Census Bureau.
The Social Security Administration still considers 65 to be full retirement age if you were born in 1937 or earlier. But if you were born in 1938 or later, that gradually rises. If you were born in 1943 to 1954, for instance, your retirement age is 66. If you were born in 1960 or later, sorry, your full retirement age is now 67. (Note: You can still start withdrawing as early as age 62 but at a reduced rate.)
Now you should be clear about the concept of senior citizen age. In the senior citizen age is not the end of the world. It’s more like a new beginning for you. You’ll have more time to re-evaluate yourself and find things that interest you and that you’re willing to work on. Many of the best people in the world have only got into their fields of pride after retirement. So, it’s never too late to start your hobby. In fact, the “senior citizen” is just a title, you can enjoy the benefits of it, at the same time do a mentality of forever young people.