There are many issues to consider when you are planning ahead for your senior years, and this is what elder law is all about. Of course, you should do everything that is within your control to develop the nest egg that you will need to be able to retire in comfort if it is at all possible. At the same time, it is important to understand what you can expect from the government programs for senior citizens that you have paid into throughout your working career.
One of these benefits is Social Security. The eligibility age for your full Social Security benefit depends upon the year of your birth. If you were born between 1943 and 1954, you can start to receive your full benefit when you are 66 years of age.
Subsequently, the age goes up by two months each year, so if you were born in 1955, you become eligible two months after you celebrate your 66th birthday. People that were born in 1956 would become eligible four months after they reach the age of 66. This two-month per year graduation comes to a halt in 1960. Eligible Americans that were born in 1960 and after become eligible when they are 67 years old. These are 2018 statistics. Some lawmakers have suggested increasing the eligibility age in an effort to reduce spending, so this is a matter that you should stay abreast of as your retirement years start to come into focus.
You do not necessarily have to wait until you are eligible for your full retirement benefit to apply for Social Security. It is possible to receive an early benefit when you are as young as 62 years of age. However, before you jump at the chance, you should understand the fact that your benefit would be significantly reduced.
The exact amount of the reduction would depend upon the year of your birth. If you were born in 1960 or any year after that, you would forfeit 30 percent of your full benefit. The figure is at least 25 percent for anyone born after 1942. On the other end of the spectrum, you could choose to delay the submission of your application until you are as old as 70. If you go this route, your benefit would be increased by eight percent for every year that you delay.
Medicare is the other government benefit that senior citizens pay into while they are working. The eligibility age for Medicare does not vary depending on your birth year. As things stand in 2018, you will become eligible for Medicare coverage when you reach the age of 65.
This program is broken down into four different distinct sections. Part A pays for hospitalization, and Part B pays for visits to doctors and outpatient treatment. Part C allows you to enroll in a Medicare PPO or HMO health plan administered by a private insurance company. Examples are Secure Horizons and Blue Cross. Part D is the prescription drug portion of the program.
When you are budgeting for your retirement years, you should recognize the fact that people that are enrolled in the Medicare program have to contend with out-of-pocket expenses. There is no monthly premium for Part A, but there is a per-benefit period deductible, and there are hefty copayments for particularly long hospital stays. You do have to pay monthly premium for Part B, and there is a modest deductible along with a 20 percent copayment. Deductibles, copayments, and premiums must be paid for the prescription drug plans as well.
By far, the most significant expense that you will be responsible for if you are relying on Medicare as a senior citizen will be long-term care costs. The majority of elders will require assistance with their activities of daily living eventually, and Medicare does not pay for in-home care or a stay in a nursing home or assisted living community. These facilities are very expensive, so paying for them yourself could consume everything that you have saved throughout your life.
There are many options to pay for long term care. One of them is Long Term Care Medi-Cal. However, in order to qualify for this government assistance you must have limited resources in your own name. Elder law attorneys assist clients that would like to position their assets optimally with future Long Term Care Medi-Cal eligibility in mind. If you would like to discuss this matter with an elder law attorney in person, you can schedule a consultation right now if you give us a call at 951-888-1460.