Everyone knows about senior discounts at restaurants and retailers, but many overlook some of the greatest benefits and programs available to people in retirement. Unfortunately many people 55+ are missing out entirely, simply because they don't know these programs exist.
That's why we put together this list of the top discounts and benefits for seniors we could find.
Editor's Note: Some of these discounts are only available online, and may not be available for very long. For that reason, we recommend our readers claim their benefits to start saving right away!
Those Collecting Social Security Could Consider a "Do-Over" and Get a Benefits Boost
An obscure tax law allows those who collect social security to halt current benefits, pay back everything collected (interest-free), and restart benefits at a new, higher rate based on your current age. It's called "do-over" and it can dramatically increase social security.
Here's how it works... Let's say someone qualifies for full benefits of $1,600 a month at their normal retirement age of 66, but they decide to begin collecting benefits at 62. As a result, their retirement benefits will be reduced by 25% for the rest of their life (to $1,200 a month in this example) because they'll be collecting a smaller benefit for a longer period of time.
On the other hand, if that person delayed collecting benefits, they will receive an 8% credit for every year beyond their normal retirement age until they reach 70, when their maximum benefit will be 132% of what they would have received at age 66. In this example, this person would receive about $2,100 a month at 70 -- a $900 difference!
Most don't realize this option is available to them, but that doesn't mean it's for everyone. Be sure to crunch the numbers and speak with a qualified advisor before doing anything drastic.
Transportation and Travel Discounts
For those that like to get out of town, vacation, or visit the grandchildren, be sure to always ask for discounts from the various travel providers. This is especially true for travelers 55 and over. Here are a few we know about...
- American Airlines: There are various senior discounts that apply to various trips. Call to find out which are available.
- Amtrak: Senior pricing is available for most Amtrak locations. This ranges from 10 to 15 percent off.
- Alaska Airlines: Seniors can save a significant amount with discount plane tickets. However, discounts vary from one time frame to the next. Most commonly, seniors can save 10 percent.
- Southwest Airlines: Seniors over 65 who are traveling with Southwest Airlines may be eligible for Senior Fares. These are available online and for international and domestic travel. You can also purchase Senior Fares through a customer service representative at the airline or a travel agency. You will need to arrive early at the gate to be able to prove your age in order to be checked in for your flight.
- United Airlines: United offers discounted prices for flights for seniors over 65. Seniors need to select the Over 65 category when purchasing tickets online or with a customer service agent. Discounts vary depending on the flight and location.
2019 Brings the Biggest Social Security COLA Increase in 7 Years
The highlight of the SSA's mid-October announcement is always the "raise" that existing beneficiaries will receive in the upcoming year. This raise is known as the "cost-of-living adjustment," or COLA, and is determined by the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W).
In 2019, Social Security recipients will be receiving a 2.8% COLA, which is the biggest increase since 2012. Instrumental to this raise has been the rising price of energy goods, such as gasoline and fuel oil. The increased cost of shelter (i.e., rent or housing costs), which comprises the largest weighting of any good or service within the CPI-W, also played a key role in pushing Social Security's COLA to a seven-year high.
Keep in mind that a 2.8% COLA doesnt' necessarily represent the true inflation they've faced over the past year. An analysis from The Senior Citizens League found that the purchasing power of Social Security dollars has declined by 34% over the past 18 years, primarily because the CPI-W does a poor job of representing the expenses that seniors contend with.
Discounts When Eating Out
If you don’t feel like cooking be sure to turn to these places for good senior dining deals. From fast food to steak restaurants, our compiled restaurant list will definitely help you make your choice.
Keep in mind that deals may vary at participating locations and can change without notice.
- McDonald’s: discounts on coffee and beverages (55+)
- Wendy’s: get free coffee or other discounts depending on location
- IHOP: 10% discount (55+) and a menu for people aged 55 and over at participating locations
- Golden Corral: Senior discount varies by location (Inquire)
- Denny’s: Offers a 55+ menu with smaller portions, and better prices. (We like this a lot!)
- Perkins: Restaurants: Fifty-Five Plus menu Offers special deals (55+)
- Subway: 10% off (60+) varies by location
- Old Country Buffet: Daily discounts for seniors (55+)
- Burger King: 10% discount on purchase depending on location (60+)
- Long John Silver’s: 10% discount or discounted beverage (55+)
Save on Groceries
Once you've used your senior discount at all of your favorite restaurants, you'll need to buy some groceries. Lots of stores give a senior discount – you just need to ask.
Keep in mind that discounts and deals may vary and can change without notice.
- Farm Fresh: 5% discount Tuesdays and Thursdays (55+)
- Hy-Vee: depending on location will usually offer 5% discount on Tuesdays and Wednesdays (some stores set age to 65+)
- Fred Meyer: 10% senior discount on the first Tuesday of every month
- New Seasons Market: 10% discount every Wednesday
- Compare Food Supermarket: 10% discount in participating locations, get in touch with your local store to find out more
- Piggly Wiggly: varying discounts at participating locations (inquire)
- Fry's Food: 10% discount on the first Wednesday of every month to all seniors with VIP card.
Search for Available Discounts On Life Insurance
Unfortunately with every year you age your insurance premium amount rises 8-10%. For some, rising life insurance policy costs can add up significantly. And what's worse is the fact that many have a hard time qualifying for new policies altogether once they reach a certain age.
Fortunately though, there is a way to get a very cheap life insurance policy. You need to compare quotes from multiple insurance companies. This amazing website will let you do that and the best part it is totally free! They will run your information through their technology to automatically find the best life insurance policies available for a much much lower price. You could end up saving up to 70% on life insurance!
No medical check and instant approval policies are also available. Click here to see available plans.
Enjoy a Trip to the Movies With These Senior Discounts
Love seeing a good flick at your local theatre? Here are the top theatre discounts for seniors.
- Regal Theatres: Regal Entertainment Group offers AARP members who are 50 or older a $3.00 discount on a large or small popcorn and soft drink combination purchase.
- AMC Theatres: AMC Theatres offers discounted ticket prices to customers who are 60 or older with valid photo identification.
- Marcus Theatres: Marcus Theatres offers customers who are 60 or older $5 admission to matinees each Friday with valid photo identification.
- Showcase Cinemas: Each Wednesday, Showcase Cinemas offers $7 admission to customers who are 60 or older. The special savings applies to all movie tickets including IMAX, RealD 3D, XPlus, and MX4D.
- Landmark Theatres: Landmark Theatres offers reduced pricing to guests 62 years of age or older with valid identification.
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