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What Age Is ‘Senior Citizen’?

Sep 13, 2023

senior citizen african american man smiling

The United States has approximately 55 million senior citizens, with around 2.5 million living in Pennsylvania. It’s ranked the fifth most lived-in state for people 65 and over, and the state programs, senior discounts, and amenities reflect that.

While 65 is used as a loose marker to describe a senior citizen, it is not the official definition of a senior citizen.

So, what age is “senior citizen”? What programs and rules are there for those considered senior citizens? And what discounts and amenities does Pennsylvania offer its older population? Let’s take a look.

The Definition Of Senior Citizen

The term ‘senior citizen’ refers to people who have reached retirement age and no longer work. Senior citizens are usually entitled to full Social Security benefits, senior housing, and other retirement benefits.

Someone is a senior citizen when they are no longer employed and have reached their retirement age. There is no official age to be considered a senior citizen.

Why is there no specific senior citizen age? There are many reasons, including the changing average life expectancy and different program age requirements. For example, the minimum senior citizen age for Social Security is different from that for car insurance companies. They can also differ from state to state.

But the biggest reason there is no definition is because age is just a number. One person’s retirement age is not the same as everyone else’s. Age stereotypes put mature American citizens in a box. Adding a definitive number to be considered a senior citizen would do the same.

Programs And Rules For Senior Citizens

Retired persons have access to government programs and organizations that provide assistance when it’s not possible to work anymore. A lot of these programs have different age requirements and rules, which we’ll outline below:


AARP, the American Association of Retired Persons, is a non-profit that offers access to widely circulated publications with financial tools, health information, and national discounts.

To be considered a senior citizen with AARP, you need to be 50 years old. This is lower than a lot of other senior programs.

The lower age makes it easier for people who aren’t considered elderly but are dealing with elderly issues or disabilities to access necessary resources.


Medicare is a federal health insurance program under the Social Security Administration for people over the age of 65. However, you can also get Medicare insurance coverage when you are below the 65 age bracket if you have a disability.

Special circumstances could also make you eligible, but they are determined on a case-to-case basis.

Social Security

Social Security is a federal administration that offers retirement benefits. The Social Security age is 66 or 67 years old. However, the eligibility rules have changed in recent years due to changing life expectancy in the USA.

The Social Security website has a retirement age calculator with a full breakdown of your eligibility and benefits by year of birth.

Senior Housing

Senior housing programs offer access to housing communities. They provide seniors with independence, community, and protection.

There are independent and state-run senior housing programs, with state ones having a minimum age of 65 and some private ones going as low as 55 in Pennsylvania.


AAA, the Area Agencies on Aging, aims to make it possible for people who have reached full retirement age to stay in their homes instead of moving to retirement communities. The AAA age is 60.

Pennsylvania offers AAA services in all 67 counties and provides in-home assistance, delivery services, and more.


SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) is a government program that offers food assistance to the elderly. SNAP’s eligibility age is 60 years old but it can differ from state to state.

In Pennsylvania, the SNAP age is also 60 years old.

Drivers License Laws For Senior Citizens In PA

Senior drivers are required to renew their driver’s licenses more often. In Pennsylvania, you need to renew your driver’s license every four years.

After turning 65, you will need to renew your driver’s license every two years. Your Pennsylvania DMV might also ask you to come in for a vision test more often.

Senior Citizen Discounts In Pennsylvania

Fun activities for seniors are necessary to maintain quality of life. But enriching your life can be a bit expensive, especially when you are living on a tight budget.

Fortunately, Pennsylvania offers many great senior discounts for elderly citizens. Here are some of the most popular local activities, their eligibility, and their discounts.

Always contact the below organizations to verify discounted prices. They are subject to change.

General Entertainment

  • Philadelphia Museum Of Art: The museum offers discount tickets for citizens 65 and older. These tickets are available every day of the week and cost around $28.
  • Mutter Museum: They offer ticket discounts for people 65 and older. The discounted tickets cost $18.
  • Independence Seaport Museum: The discount eligibility age is 65 with ticket prices ranging from $13 to $27.
  • Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts: Their full retirement age is 60 years and older. Senior tickets cost $15.
  • AMC Theatres: Offers discounted ticket prices at select theaters around the state. The minimum age is 55 years old, but it can differ from county to county. Double-check prices with your local AMC.
  • Penn Museum: Discount ticket prices of $16 for people 65 and older.
  • Woodmere Art Museum: Woodmere is also very affordable, at $7 a ticket. Their senior age is also a bit lower, with a minimum of 55 years old.
  • Regal Cinemas: Regal Cinemas offers discounted prices for people 60 years and older. The cinema chain also has extra savings for AARP members.
  • Eeri Zoo: Eeri Zoo has discounted tickets for seniors 62 years and older. They also offer free entry for the elderly on Senior Citizens’ Day.

Health And Exercise Activities

  • SilverSneakers: A health and fitness membership with over 17,000 locations. People 65 and older qualify, with extra discounts for people who use Medicare.
  • National Parks: USA national parks sell annual passes at a discounted price for senior citizens. You need to have proof of citizenship and be at least 62 years old.
  • Zen Leaf Dispensaries: For any seniors who use medicinal or recreational marijuana, Zen Leaf offers a 10% discount for people 55 and older.

Cruise Lines

  • Carnival Cruises: Offer special rates for seniors 55 and up.
  • Grand European Travel: The cruise line offers discounts of up to $100 off for AARP members.
  • Royal Caribbean: If you are 55 or older, Royal Caribbean offers specially priced packages for selected travel destinations.
  • Norwegian Cruise Lines: Discounted rates for people 55 and up.
  • AARP Expedia Travel Center: Offers onboard credits to AARP members on select cruise lines.


  • IHOP: Discount prices on their special 55 and up menu.
  • Taco Bell: Seniors 65 and up get a 5% discount and a free drink at participating locations.
  • Friendly’s Restaurant: 10% off for people 55 years and older.
  • Arby’s: 10% off for those over the age of 55.
  • Outback Steakhouse: Discounts for AARP members at checkout.
  • Ben & Jerry’s: Offers a 10% discount for people over 60.


  • Greyhound: 5% discount for people 62 and up for specific travel dates.
  • Amtrak: Seniors 65 and older have access to a 10% discount on most Amtrak trains.
  • British Airways: Offers discounts for AARP members.
  • Pennsylvania Free Transit: Free rides on fixed-route public transit for people 65 and older.


While there is no definite senior citizen age, there are a variety of government programs and non-profit organizations available and ready to help you make the best of your senior years. Seniors also get to enjoy a ton of great Pennsylvania discounts for the art, food, health, and travel sectors.

Enrich your life further with dedicated 365 Health Services home care. Get in touch today and talk to the 365 team for home care you can trust.

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