When Do You Become a Senior Citizen?

Your 1+1 Team
January 3, 2022

Everyone knows when you hit your 13th birthday you officially become a teenager, however, at what age do you become a senior? Well to answer, there is no clearly defined age for when you officially become a senior. However, you may consider yourself a senior citizen depending on what programs you qualify for, as well as the milestones you hit in your life.

Your age qualifying for senior benefits depends on the organization

There are several discounts, programs, and other benefits targeted only towards “senior citizens” and the age can vary.

  • U.S. Census Bureau: 65

    • The U.S. Census Bureau states people over the age of 65 are categorized as part of the “older population” for data collecting and reporting.
    • Restaurant and Retail Discounts: varies from 50-65
    • Discounts can be available to seniors for restaurants, hair salons, airfare, movie theaters, cell phone services, and hotels. The age to qualify for the discount varies depending on each retailer’s policy.
  • Senior Housing: 55

    • The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing based on a variety of factors such as race, color, sex, origin, sex, disability, or familial status. However, exemptions specifically apply to apartment and housing communities for those over 55. This way these living communities are solely occupied by seniors.
  • DMV: varies from 65-80

    • There are requirements targeted only towards senior citizens when renewing their driver’s licenses. These requirements are in place to prevent those with poor vision, perception limitations, or slow reflexes from driving. Requirements and age to follow them vary by state, but it could include a vision test or driving test.
  • Medicare: 65

    • Medicare is the federal health insurance program for seniors and you are eligible for their coverage once you reach age 65. Your loved one must start the application process four months before their birthday so they ensure they’re covered by their birthday.
  • Retirement plans: 59 ½ and 70 ½

    • If you withdraw money from your 401k or IRA before you are 59 ½, you are required to pay a 10% early withdrawal penalty. There are also minimum amounts you must withdraw once you are 70 ½.
  • American Association for Retired Persons (AARP): 50

    • AARP provides its members with a variety of discounts on services and products, including restaurants, car rentals, travel arrangements, and hotel accommodations. They offer membership to people over the age of 55.
  • Car Insurance companies: varies from 65-80

    • Car insurance companies tend to increase their premium rates for seniors. Depending on the company, rates may increase slightly when you reach 65 and high rise when you’re 80.
  • Social Security: varies according to the year you were born

    • The age to receive full social security benefits has risen as more people are living longer today. The age to receive benefits depends on what year you were born. If you were born in or before 1937, your retirement age is 65. If you were born in or after 1960, your retirement age is 67.

Milestones that could indicate you’re a senior citizen

Some people might consider themselves seniors once they retire from their job, sign up for social security, begin to spend their retirement savings, etc. The following are some examples of milestones you may take into consideration of whether you’re a senior:

  • Qualifying for senior benefits
  • Spending retirement savings
  • Stepping away from work
  • Changes in health

Whether your loved one is ready or not to call themselves a senior citizen, becoming a senior comes with many benefits. Their age does not have to be the only determining factor, but it could qualify them for a senior discount!


1+1 Cares is a referral agency that works for clients and caregivers. We match caregivers with clients and inform them of your requirements. We work for you so you and your loved one can have a safe, enjoyable caregiving experience. Get Senior In-Home Care!

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