What Age Is Legally Considered Elderly?

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Do you know what is legally considered elderly in the US? Let us clear some of your doubts in this write-up.

Gone are the days when wrinkled faces and white hair determined a person’s age or a person was called old or elderly. Now, age is just a figure, and you are as old as you feel from within. 

However, what age is legally considered elderly is a subjective topic, and the answer varies from generation to generation. 


Elderly Woman wearing sports bra


For example, people born between 1946 and 1964 believe that they are not old until they reach 73. On the other hand, millennials think you are old as soon as you are above 59. So, it’s pretty evident that there is no one answer to this question. 

However, for legal purposes, the US government identifies an elderly person as a person who has attained the age of 65. And they are entitled to receive various medicare facilities. But confusion arises between the age terminologies, and often consider them to be the same thing. 

In this write-up, we will talk about the meaning of common age terminologies and ways to determine old age here, and what are the benefits are associated with it.


perceptions of the onset of old age


Meaning Of Common Age Terminologies

  • Old: we often come across the term “older than”; hence old is a subjective word and depends on the person. A 32 years old man will be considered older than a 13 years old boy. Therefore old is just a number and does not actually mean if a person is old or in the last stage of their life. It only depicts the number of years passed since your birth.
  • Elderly: when you are beyond middle age and in the advanced stage of life, you are officially elderly. Legally if you are 65 years old or more than that, you are considered elderly. 
  • Senior citizen: senior citizens are people who are at least 65 years of age. They are generally the retired people who possess grave experiences and wisdom.


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Various Ways To Determine Old Age

  • By health condition: this way of determining age is generally related to a person’s physical appearance. If a person has developed wrinkles, is physically frail, has broken teeth, is physically dependent on others, and has white hair, then the person is called old.
  • By social role: social role means the way your society sees you. For example, if you have grown up or have adult children or you are a grandparent, you are considered old. If you are leading a retired life, then also you are considered old. Also, if you stop doing strenuous activities and start taking more managerial household jobs, you have attained old age.
  • By chronology: as per the chronology, you become old after you have attained a specific age after your birth. In the USA, this age is 65. 


Legally Considered Elderly


Why Is It Essential To Determine Age?

Different countries and governments bring out new schemes for people who have attained old age. These schemes offer various benefits to such people and make their old age worth living.

Let us explore some of the American government programs and the age requirements they have set down to qualify for the benefits.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

This program is specially designed for people above the age of 65 or physically disabled or blind (including kids). However, besides being of age 65 or above, blind or disabled, there are a few other criteria that you should meet to gain the benefits of the SSI program. These criteria are:

Monthly income from work, bank balance, and marital status are some of the other factors that affect your eligibility for SSI.


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How does SSI work?

Through the SSI program, the USA government provides monthly payments to eligible people (i.e., people aged 65 and above, blind and physically disabled). The payment is made for meeting day-to-day expenses like shelter, clothing, and, most importantly, food. The payment depends upon your financial arrangements and fixed income. Your payment might be lower than other people’s if you have other sources of income such as pensions, interests, wages, etc.

If you are alone and possess assets worth $2000 or less, you are eligible for SSI favors. If by any chance, this amount is more than the limit, you will be removed from the program. If you live with your spouse, then this limit goes up to $3000. 


Cohousing for Seniors


Social Security Administration (SSA)

The SSA administers social programs for people who have retired from their job after reaching the retirement age, people with specific disabilities, and their survivors like wives, parents, children, etc., if they have died. 

Individuals are qualified for the program only if they have made payments to the social security program during the working years and have accrued 40 credits during those working years. The amount received as a benefit shall depend upon the person’s work history, birth year, and when they have started taking the social security claim. 

However, this benefit is entitled to taxation depending upon the beneficiaries’ tax filing status or the year’s total income. If you are a couple, then your total income should not be more than $32000, and if you are an individual, this threshold limit should not be more than $25000.


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Other Perks And Benefits

If you are more than the eligible age i.e. 65 old, then there are some more benefits you are entitled to in the USA. Some of these benefits are:

  • Tax Deduction: you are eligible for tax deductions if you are 65 years old or more. You can claim $1650 as a standard deduction more than the other taxpayers. 
  • Travel deals: if you are an AARP member (American Association of Retired Person) and above a certain age, some travel companies offer special discounts. Citizens above the age of 62 and above can avail of 5% off on Greyhound bus tickets. They can also buy lifetime passes from The National Park Service for just $80. And citizens above 65 can avail of 10% off on Amtrak fares. 

Affordable health insurance: if you are 65 or above, you can sign up directly for medicare. Through their medicare insurance, they can avail themselves of specific good discounts and benefits. In 2020, for most retirees, the premium amount was only $144.60 for doctor’s visits and medical services.



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While Age May Be Just a Number, It’s Important to Know What Number It Is!

Retirement age is the age to enjoy what you missed when you were young and worked day and night to make ends meet. It is not for wasting on petty issues and worrying over finances. Hence, if you are elderly, enjoy these perks given by the US government and live the life you always waited for. 


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