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SENIOR BENEFITS

AGE HAS ITS ADVANTAGES

Age 55

• Automobile insurance credit is mandated for persons who are 55 years of age or older and have successfully completed a driver training course approved by the dept. of public safety. Contact local 55 Alive program through AARP. Call 1-888-227-7669.

Age 60

  • Free tuition at all-state supported educational Institutions that include state universities, colleges and technical schools (subject to space restrictions and usual entrance requirements). To be eligible you cannot receive compensation as a full-time employee.
  • May retire from the S.C. State retirement system at age 60 or after 28 years of creditable service.
  • Eligible for services through the aging network (contact your local council on aging).

Age 62

  • Apply for social security if you plan to retire. Apply no later than last day of month you want benefits to begin. Special discounts may be given on eyeglasses, lenses or any accessories.

Age 65

  • Apply for social security whether planning to retire or not (you may apply 3 months prior to social security retirement age).
  • Apply for Medicare (automatically eligible if qualify for social security benefits).

Part A – hospital insurance – free.

Part B – other medical services, which require a monthly premium. There is a penalty for late enrollment.

Medicare pays 80% of allowable charges after deductible. Individual must pay remaining 20% and any other additional charges.

Part D – prescription drug benefit.

  • May be eligible for supplemental security income (SSI) payments depending on resources and income. If you are eligible for SSI, you automatically receive Medicaid.
  • Homestead tax exemption – first $50,000 of the fair market value of a house or mobile home owned by a state resident of at least one year is exempt from municipal, county, school and special assessment real property taxes. Exemptions provided to surviving spouses who are 50 or older and anyone who is legally blind or has a permanent disability, regardless of age. Apply at county auditor’s office on or before July 16.
  • Income tax - South Carolina will allow a $15,000 deduction from taxable income for taxpayers 65 years of age and older. Taxpayers under age 65 may exclude from taxes $3,000 of their qualified retirement income annually. At age 65, the deduction may be applied to any income up to $15,000.
  • Choice to serve or not to serve on city, county or state jury duty.
  • Discounted Palmetto Passport admission to state park facilities.
  • Hunting and fishing licenses — State residents at age 64 may buy $9 senior lifetime licenses that include hunting and fishing privileges. Call (803) 734-3838.
  • Vehicle discount — Biennial registration fee for private passenger-carrying vehicles discounted to $20. The annual registration fee for any property-carrying vehicle with a gross weight of 5,000 pounds or less is $30 biennially.
  • Free eye care — Call 1-800-222-eyes (3937) to receive referral to local ophthalmologist who will provide needed medical eye care at no cost to qualifying Individuals. Must be U.S. citizen. Does not cover hospital charges, drugs or eyeglasses -weekdays 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Age 70

  • Choice to serve or not to serve on federal court jury duty.

Age 85

  • Exempt from the additional 1% sales tax. This exemption does not apply, however, to the 3% tax on unprepared food. Senior citizens must ask for exemption at time of purchase and may be required to show proof of age. A card identifying the bearer as eligible for the exemption from the additional 1% sales tax may be obtained by calling the S.C. Department of Revenue at 803-898-5405.

No age restrictions for the following:

  • Social security income that is taxed on your federal income tax return is not taxed on your South Carolina income tax return.
  • Retirement income prior to reaching age 65, taxpayers may exclude annually $3,000 of their retirement before calculating their taxable income.
  • Once taxpayers reach age 65, they may exclude $15,000 of income from any source, including qualified retirement plans, IRAs, government pension plans, Keogh plans and private sector pensions. Total deductions cannot exceed $15,000.(The $15,000 total deduction may also be claimed on any source of income, not just retirement income.)
  • Dependent care credit for families caring for an elderly relative in their home who must hire caregivers In order to work may deduct up to 7% of the amount claimed on their federal income tax against their state income tax.
  • Home care or nursing home. Tax credit of 20%, not to exceed $300 of expenses paid for intermediate or skilled care to an institution is allowed. A credit of 20% on expenses, up to $300 annually, is allowed on state income tax for nursing home care at home or in a licensed institution.

Other tax issues

  • To exempt home and vehicle property taxes, first file an application at the county auditor’s office. Check the S.C. Department of revenue website, www.Sctax.org, for changes in the state’s tax laws each year

SOURCE: STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA OFFICE OF THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR