In May the United States recognizes Older Americans Month to acknowledge older Americans and their contributions to the nation.
More than 40 million people in the United States are 65 or older. By 2035, the U.S. Census Bureau projects this number will double, which makes improving the quality of life for older Americans even more important as we look to the future. It is Social Security’s priority to provide a safety net for older Americans.
The main reason Social Security was established 80 years ago was to help older Americans. For many older Americans, Social Security benefits are their only source of retirement income. Social Security payments continue for life and are adjusted to keep pace with inflation. The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) estimates that these benefits help keep 35 percent of older Americans out of poverty.
This May also marks the 50th anniversary of the Older Americans Act. Congress passed the Act in 1965 in response to a lack of community social services for older persons. Medicare, in effect since July 1, 1966, will also celebrate its 50th anniversary soon. Medicare provides health insurance to more than 42 million Americans age 65 and older.
To learn more about applying for Medicare, read Applying For Medicare Only—Before You Decide. To learn more about Social Security, read Understanding the Benefits. Both are available at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs.