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About Abuse

Elder Abuse

Updated: 
August 15, 2019

Who is considered “elderly” or an “older adult?”

There are many definitions for “senior citizen,” “older adult,” or someone who is “elderly” in the United States. For instance, the original age set by the Social Security Administration (SSA) to collect retirement benefits in 1935 was 65 years old. Currently, it is 66 years old, with plans to increase it to 67 years old in the future. However, at 62 years old, the SSA allows a person to collect partial retirement benefits.1 The Older Americans Act provides services to people as young as 55 years old.2 The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines an “older adult” as someone who is at least 60 years old. Many states may also have different definitions of “elderly” when determining what resources are available in cases of elder abuse, although most states commonly use 65 years of age as the cut-off.3

1Benefits Planner: Retirement,” Social Security Administration
2Older Americans Act,” National Committee to Preserve Social Security & Medicare
3State Specific Laws,” Elder Abuse Guide for Law Enforcement