One of the most remarkable trends of the current era is the rapid aging of the United States population, and this has a significant impact on elder law issues. Senior citizens are the fastest-growing segment of the American population, and if you drill down a bit deeper you’ll find that the oldest old, people 85 years of age and up, are the most rapidly growing demographic subset. This is having a remarkable impact on the Social Security and Medicare systems.
Right now there are 10,000 new applicants for Social Security each and every day, which is really staggering if you think about it. But if that was not enough to cause your jaw to drop, this volume of daily Social Security applicants is expected to continue for the next 20 years. So with this many baby boomers reaching retirement age all at once there are a lot of questions being asked about Social Security.
There are those who automatically assume that the retirement age is 65, but this is not true when it comes to “full retirement age” as it applies to Social Security benefits. People born between 1943 and 1954 qualify for full Social Security benefits when they reach the age of 66. After that the full benefit age goes up by two months each year until 1960. For those born in 1960 and later the full Social Security retirement age is 67.
However, you do not have to wait until your full retirement age to collect Social Security benefits. You can choose to take a reduced benefit when you’re as young as 62, and the amount of the reduction would be between 25% and 30% depending on the year of your birth. Conversely, you can earn delayed retirement credits by postponing your application for Social Security beyond your full retirement age up to the age of 70. This option would increase your full benefit.
These are a few quick Social Security facts that give you a general idea of how the system works. For detailed information you can simply visit the Social Security Administration website.