Page 20 - 2018 Senior Scene Magazine February
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Senior Scene® | February Issue
Reaching Retirement Age? Here’s What You Need to Know
By Blanca Taylor, Social Security Public Affairs Specialist
Every birthday deserves celebration, but some seem a little more special than others. Think of a baby’s  rst birth- day. Sweet 16. The “Big 4-0.” Then, before you know it, along comes 65. This last milestone is especially important to retirees.
For nearly half a century, American workers looked to 65 as the age at which they could stop working and  nally reap their full retirement bene ts under the Social Security Act of 1935.
Today, however, the full retirement age is now 66 or 67, depending on when you were born. In 1983, Congress changed the law to increase the retirement age gradually over a 22-year period, citing improvements in the health of older people and increases in average life expectancy. To  nd out your full retirement age, visit www.socialsecurity. gov/planners/retire/ageincrease.html.
If you’ve contributed enough to the Social Security system through payroll taxes, you still can claim your retire- ment bene ts at 65 — or 62, 63, or 64, for that matter — but your monthly payments will be permanently reduced. For help deciding which age is right for you to start receiv- ing Social Security retirement bene ts, read, “When to Start Receiving Retirement Bene ts” at www.socialsecurity. gov/pubs/EN-05-10147.pdf.
We have also made applying for bene ts easier than ever. You can do it online! To apply for bene ts, please go
to www.socialsecurity.gov/applyforbene ts.
That said, age 65 should still factor in prominently as
you prepare for retirement and a stable  nancial future, because that’s when most American workers  rst become eligible for Medicare health insurance coverage.
To see if you’ve earned enough credits through work to qualify for Medicare at age 65, view your Social Security Statement online using your personal my Social Security account. Create or log on to your account at www.socialse- curity.gov/myaccount.
If you’re already receiving Social Security bene ts be- fore age 65, we’ll automatically enroll you in Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) and Medicare Part B (supplemental medical insurance) effective the  rst day of the month you turn 65. Watch your mailbox a few months before your birthday for your Medicare card.
Otherwise, three months before your 65th birthday, you can apply for Medicare Parts A and B online at www.so- cialsecurity.gov/applyforbene ts.
Your Initial Enrollment Period for Medicare starts three months before your 65th birthday month and continues for three months after. To learn more about Medicare enroll- ment and coverage, please visit www.socialsecurity.gov/ medicare. To learn more about Medicare coverage, visit www.medicare.gov.
Social Security is with you through life’s journey, on your  rst birthday and the many more that follow. Learn how we help you and your family secure today and tomor- row through our  nancial bene ts, information, and plan- ning tools at www.socialsecurity.gov. SS
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