- Depending on the state, laws, and establishments, a senior citizen’s age is considered to be 50-62 and older.
- Seniors are entitled to multiple government programs and bonuses from private companies such as restaurants, hotels, and airfare companies.
- Seniors are eligible for membership at AARP and similar organizations through which they get discounts at various establishments.
- Knowing what age is considered to be senior is very important for health insurance and car insurance policies as they tend to increase with age.
We often hear and use the term senior citizen when referring to elderly people. But, what some consider as senior citizen age, others don’t. For instance, car insurance companies and senior housing communities have different age requirements.
We’ve compiled this guide to define the senior age range and all the perks that come with being considered a senior. Read on to find out what benefits you’re entitled to and what restrictions there are according to your age.
What Is Considered Senior Citizen Age?
While no exact number defines senior citizen age, people aged 60-65 are considered seniors. However, not all states, laws, and organizations have the same age range.
AARP, for instance, considers people aged 50 as seniors, but what senior citizen age is the correct one? We often refer to people over 60 as senior citizens, but, Medicare has set 65 as their minimum senior age. That’s why it’s important to clarify the exact age of senior citizen.
What is Senior Citizen Age For Government Programs
Defining the actual age range of senior citizens is important to determine a person’s eligibility for special governmental programs. Seniors can take advantage of social security, Medicare, and food assistance programs.
The senior age range varies between government programs. Let’s look at each one separately to see how old do you have to be to be considered a senior citizen and have the right to use them.
Social Security: Determining the Eligible Age for Benefits
The age of senior citizen eligible for retirement varies from 66 to 67, depending on the year they are born. Namely, people born in 1943-1954 can retire at the age of 66, while those born in 1955-1959 can retire at 66 and 2 months. Seniors born in or after 1960 can retire at the age of 67.
An early retirement option is also available. It allows people who are at least 62 to retire but with a reduced amount of funds.
Medicare: Understanding the Age of Enrollment
Medicare is a government program offering senior health insurance. To be eligible for the program, you must be 65 years old. However, you can start the application process 3 months before turning 65 to be covered when you reach that age.
SNAP: Age Requirements for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance
SNAP provides food resources to seniors with low income. To qualify as a candidate for the program, you have to be 60 years old.
Apart from the senior citizen age requirement, the program also considers total income, assets, and the number of people in your home.
Area Agencies on Aging: Services for Older Adults
Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) are community-based programs (public or private) that look after the needs of senior citizens at the age of 60 and over. They support seniors in their everyday life, enabling them independent living in their homes.
Local AAAs offer various services to seniors, including homemaker assistance, chore assistance, home-delivered meals, and caregiving programs. They also offer community centers for aging to their members.
DMV: Senior Citizen Driving Regulations
Currently, there’s no specific age at which seniors must stop driving. However, there are special rules for people aged 65-79, depending on the state.
While the laws may differ from one state to another, all senior citizens must renew their driver’s licenses more often. They undergo visual, hearing, graphomotor, and driving examinations to confirm if they can continue to drive safely.
Senior Citizen Age in Business Programs and Services
Apart from being entitled to governmental programs, senior citizens can also join various business programs according to their retirement plans and association memberships.
Retirement Accounts (401(k)s, IRAs, Roth IRAs): Age Considerations
Retired seniors can withdraw a required minimum distribution of their savings at the age of 59 ½ to 70. At the age of 70 ½, the IRS requires them to start withdrawing their funds. However, the minimum age increases to 73 in 2023.
AARP and Other Organizations: Membership Eligibility
Senior citizens can join AARP and similar organizations when they turn 50. Membership in these organizations has many benefits, including discounts on services like hotels, travel arrangements, and restaurants. They also get access to many information resources, online seminars, and publications.
Car Insurance Companies: Age-Based Discounts and Policies
Car insurance companies don’t offer discounts for seniors. In fact, they increase the premium rates of people aged 65 and over, with 80-year-olds paying the highest rates.
However, they do offer discounts seniors can apply for. The most popular ones are:
- Multi-policy or bundling discount
- Defensive driving course
- Car storage coverage
- Loyalty discount
- Full payment discount
Retail Stores and Restaurants: Senior Citizen Discounts
Retail stores, restaurants, hair salons, hotels, and cell phone services are some of the most common establishments offering discounts to seniors. The minimum age to be considered senior varies from one business to another.
Some offer discounts to people aged 50 while others to people aged 65. For instance, Hertz offers a car rental discount of up to 35% to people aged 50 and over. On the other hand, Southwest Airlines offers a discount on tickets for travelers aged 65 and older.
Senior Citizen Age Range
Knowing what age is considered a senior citizen can help you make the most of your years. However, there’s no strict age number that defines who is a senior. Instead, there’s a senior age range from 50 to 65, depending on the state, law, and company/organization.
U.S. Census Bureau
The U.S. Census Bureau considers people aged 65 as older senior citizens. According to their 2020 census, 16.8% were 65 and over. This means that about 1 in 6 Americans were seniors, which is a lot more compared to the 1920 consensus when less than 1 in 20 people were part of the older population.
Age Requirements for Discounts and Benefits
The senior citizen age in USA required to be eligible for discounts and benefits varies from one retailer to another and depends on the organizations they’re part of.
For instance, AARP members, who are 50 years old, can enjoy some senior discounts although they aren’t close to retirement age. On the other hand, Marriott offers a 15% discount on accommodation to seniors aged 62 and over.
Generally speaking, it depends on the retailer.
Retirement Communities: Age Restrictions for Senior Living
The requirement set by retirement communities is that residents be 55 or older. However, there’s an exception in the Fair Housing Act, which allows communities or facilities to accommodate only persons aged 62 or older. This includes senior care, senior assisted living, and similar facilities where residents can’t or don’t want to live alone.
Another exception to the rule allows persons below the age of 55 to dwell in the community/facility if they are a partner, spouse, or roommate. The age requirement, in this case, is 40.
What Are the Benefits of Being Considered a Senior Citizen?
Being considered a senior citizen brings a lot of benefits that improve your life and well-being. The most common ones are:
- Discounts at hotels, plane tickets, train tickets, restaurants, cinemas, gym membership rates, etc;
- Early bird specials, like buy one entree, get one free;
- Lower health insurance rates and access to wellness programs;
- Local transport assistance;
- Extra tax deductions.
How Does Age Vary for Senior Citizen Discounts?
Do you want to know how old do you have to be to be a senior citizen and get entitled to discounts? There’s no specific age number as the minimum age requirement varies among businesses. However, there is a senior age range that goes from 50 to 65 years of age.
Can I Qualify for Social Security and Medicare Before Senior Citizen Age?
Generally, you can’t because both programs have a minimum age requirement that is considered senior age.
Eligibility criteria for Social Security require you to be minumum 61 years and 9 months old. Hence, you don’t have to wait until retirement. But keep in mind that your benefits will be reduced if you start earlier.
When it comes to Medicare, the age requirement is 65. But, you can be eligible to apply if you have a disability. And, if you’re a healthy individual who has retired before 65, you won’t be eligible for Medicare.
Are There Exceptions or Variations to Senior Citizen Age Requirements?
Senior citizen age requirements vary across different companies, organizations, associations, and services. For instance, AARP considers seniors people aged 50 and older, while Southwest Airlines considers seniors people aged 65 and older.
Being considered a senior comes with countless benefits, from health insurance benefits and discounts at restaurants, hotels, and cinemas, to paying lower taxes. It’s a title to wear proudly and take advantage of to enjoy the golden years.
Knowing at what age are you considered a senior is also important so that you can apply in time for Social Security, Medicare, and assisted living if you need help around the house. And, if you’re a driver, you need to know when and how often you need to renew your driving license.