When you think about a safety net for seniors you are probably going to immediately think about Social Security. The reality is that during this day and age Social Security is less of a safety net and more of a staple. According the Social Security Administration, in 2010 Social Security was the primary source of income for 64% of its recipients.
When you are going to be able to collect your full Social Security benefit varies depending on the year during which you were born. For those who were born between 1943 and 1954 full retirement age is 66. It then rises by two months per year until 1960. People who were born during that year and later become eligible for their full Social Security benefit when they reach the age of 67.
The amount of the benefit that you receive is based on the income that you earned during the years you were still working. The more you made, the higher your benefit will be. On the other end of the spectrum, if you did not earn enough during your lifetime to meet the minimum requirement you don’t qualify for Social Security benefits at all.
However, those who did not earn enough during their lives to qualify for Social Security may be eligible to receive Supplemental Security Income or SSI. Though the income that is provided by SSI is modest, it is at least a base level safety net and those who are approved for SSI are also automatically entitled to receive Medicaid. This is a key factor that can play into the retirement planning of many seniors because Medicaid pays for nursing home expenses while Medicare does not.
If you would like to explore the bests ways to weave government benefits for seniors into your long-term plan for the future, simply arrange for a consultation with an experienced Fayetteville elder law attorney.
Pyke & Associates, P.C. is a member of the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys.