Ending employment after meeting specified time-in-service and other requirements. There is no set retirement age, which varies among industries and employers. Some people retire with pensions and other benefits; others either are too young to qualify though they meet the organization’s retirement criteria or have only social security. Disability retirement follows different criteria and is generally health-related; people with Parkinson’s who are otherwise not qualified to retire (too young or not employed long enough) often meet disability retirement qualifications when symptoms interfere with their ability to perform job tasks. However, in most situations federal and state laws prohibit employers from forcing a person to take disability retirement.
People who have early-onset Parkinson’s often opt for early retirement, whereby they forfeit certain benefits but may collect other benefits. It is essential to know whether this forfeiture is temporary or permanent. A pension program that pays a reduced benefit for retirement before age 53, for example, when the age for full retirement is 58, may provide full benefits at age 58 or maintain them at the level in effect when the person retired at age 53. It often is best to consult a financial specialist to determine the true costs and value of these decisions.
Another key factor to consider with early retirement is medical insurance. A few pension programs award medical insurance coverage as part of the retirement benefit package, but most do not. Some allow the person to maintain medical insurance by paying the monthly premiums, which can be hefty. Most retirement programs do not offer medical insurance. Because medicare qualification does not begin until age 65, early retirement can have serious implications for the person with Parkinson’s disease whose health care needs will continue to grow.
Emotional Issues of Retirement
People who have worked all of their adult lives often have emotional attachments to their jobs, careers, and companies. They identify themselves with their work, and retirement ends this sense of self defined by career. Some people find it emotionally challenging to make this separation and may become depressed after retirement. If disability retirement or early retirement has been due to Parkinson’s disease, the emotional challenges are intensified as the person may feel resentful about being “forced” into the decision. Having other activities to fill in the time favorite hobbies, travel (if practical), all those chores and tasks put off until there was enough time to do them can offset this reaction. It is important for family members to be understanding and supportive.
Financial Issues of Retirement
Few people who retire retain the same income level that they had when they were working. Pension programs may pay from 20 percent to 80 percent of the working salary, depending on the benefit structure. By retirement age most people have fewer financial responsibilities and have been anticipating retirement long enough to plan for the reduction in income. When a condition such as Parkinson’s disease forces a change in plans, it is easy to minimize or ignore the potential financial challenges. The consequences can be devastating, however. financial planning is crucial.
See also Americans with disabilities act;
ESTATE PLANNING; MEDICAL INSURANCE MEDICAID; MEDICARE.