Senior Citizen ID: Perks And Privileges For The Elderlies
According to the latest statistics from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) there are about 7.5 million senior citizens in the Phiilippines. Providing care to the older population in the Philippines is provisioned by a fundamental law of the land.
The 1987 Philippine Constitution ensures the promotion and protection of the rights and welfare of Filipino senior citizens as a minority population sector. The Philippines is a country that respects and upholds elders, and true enough it even reflects in the laws of our land.
As an integral part of the Philippine society, there’s a law that primarily governs senior citizens’ rights in the country – the Senior Citizens Act. This law was passed in 1992 and was later expanded on in 2003 and 2010.
Republic Act No. 7432 aka Senior Citizen Act
This law was passed in 1992 was described as an “act to minimize the contribution of citizens to nation-building while granting benefits and special privileges and other purposes.” To do so, it encourages the Philippines as a community and the government to boost assistance to senior citizens and institutions that are caring for them.
This law also outlines all the privileges that senior citizens are entitled to. According to this Act there shall be a priority for the needs of the underprivileged, sick, elderly, disabled, women and children and is thereby aimed to do the following:
- Establish mechanisms whereby the contribution of the senior citizens are maximized;
- Adopt measures whereby our senior citizens are assisted and appreciated by the community as a whole;
- Establish a program beneficial to the senior citizens, their families, and the rest of the community that they serve; and
- Establish community-based health and rehabilitation programs in every political unit of society.”
Who is considered a Senior Citizen?
The only requirement for an individual to be counted as a senior citizen in the country is that at least he or she is 60 years of age and is a Filipino citizen.
What are the benefits of Senior Citizens?
The coverage of benefits for senior citizens is very long and comprehensive. Below is a quick summary of the benefits and their coverage.
- 20% discount and exemption from Value Added Tax on certain goods and services for their own use.
- A minimum of 5% discount on water and utility bills up to 100 kilowatt hours of electricity and 30 cubic meter of water, registered under their name.
- If the senior citizen is a minimum wage earner, he or she is exempted from individual income taxes.
- Mandatory PhilHealth coverage.
- GSIS and SSS retirement benefits.
- Express lanes or priority status in almost all establishments in both commerce government and commercial establishments.
- Employment assistance from the government for elderlies who are able and willing to work.
- Educational assistance through scholarships, grants, or subsidy should the senior citizen wish to continue or take a secondary and/or higher education, vocational and technical training, or short-term courses in public and private educational or training institutions.
- Training fees exemptions for programs organized by private and government for socioeconomic assistance and development.
- Social safety nets, such as food, medicine, and financial assistance for home repairs during economic shocks and calamities.
- Centenarians privilege under Republic Act No. 10868 (Centenarians Act of 2016): ₱100,000 and a letter of felicitation signed by the Philippine president.
- City/municipality-specific benefits. Each city or municipality in the country has their own set of perks for their seniors aside from those established by law. You can ask the Office of the Senior Citizen’s Affair (OSCA) in your city or municipality about such benefits.
- Indigent senior citizens will be entitled to the following:
- Free vaccine for influenza virus and pneumococcal diseases vaccine.
- ₱500 free grocery allowance but released every semester.
What is covered by the 20% senior citizen discount?
- Medicines, essential medical supplies, accessories and equipment, dental services, diagnostic and laboratory fees in private hospitals, clinics, and etc.
- Professional fees of their physicians and healthcare workers.
- Fare for land (jeepney, buses, taxis, shuttle services, MRT, LRT, and PNR), sea shipping vessels, and domestic transport services.
- Restaurants, hotels, lodging establishments, and recreation centers. This only applies to the senior, not including their family members.
- Theaters, cinema houses, and concert halls, circuses, leisure, and amusement. Some movie theaters in the country provide free entry to senior citizens once a week, check your local cinemas to confirm.
Who are considered as indigent senior citizens?
- Disabled or sickly elders
- No pension from either the GSIS, SSS or from any other government or private sources.
- No income
- No financial support or basic sustenance from any family members
For a senior citizen to be acknowledged and be entitled to the benefits and privileges that come with their status, they must obtain a senior citizen ID.
SSS benefits and senior citizens
According to the law, senior citizens will be entitled to a benefits package whether or not they are or were actively contributing or paying their premiums. However, the benefits for both members who consistently contributed and those who didn’t will be different. It will be as follows:
- Senior citizen members with less than 120 months SSS contributions before their retirement will get a one-time payment which is equivalent to their total contribution plus interest.
- Senior citizens with at least 120 contributions before their retirement will be entitled to a monthly pension. Pension will be halted if the senior citizen within the age 60 to 64 years old still goes back to work. If the senior citizen reaches the age of 65, he or she will receive a pension whether or not he or she is employed.
You can read more about SSS retirement benefits on their website.
Should the senior citizen stop paying their monthly contributions in SSS?
Monthly contributions will no longer be mandatory, however, they can continue doing so if they wish to get high amounts for their retirement or pension.
Philhealth benefits and senior citizens
Philhealth’s coverage is extended to all Filipino senior citizens, based on the Republic Act No. 10645. This law mandates that Seniors including their qualified dependents can take advantage of the following benefits and packages from Philhealth:
- Inpatient hospital care
- Day/ambulatory services
- Z benefit packages for serious medical conditions
- Tuberculosis Direct Observed Treatment Short-course (TB-DOTS) package
- Animal bite package
- Malaria package
- Outpatient HIV/AIDS treatment package
- Blood transfusion package
- Maternity and newborn care package
- Normal spontaneous delivery package
- Ante-natal care package
- Benefits for voluntary contraceptive surgical procedures
No Balance Billing (NBB) Policy
Among the coverage of this policy are senior citizen members. Under this policy, senior citizens will not be paying a single cent beyond their Philhealth’s package rates during their hospital admission or confinement.
However, the NBB is only offered to certain accredited institutions.
Where to avail of the NBB benefit?
The NBB benefit is only offered in accredited government and private health care institutions. You should verify with the healthcare institution prior to admission, if you want to take advantage of this benefit.
How to get a senior citizen ID?
The process is very straightforward but can only be done face-to-face in your local Office of the Senior Citizen’s Affair (OSCA). First of all, you need to comply with the following requirements before you proceed to the OSCA.
What are the requirements for a senior citizen ID?
- Must be a resident of the city (where the ID will be issued) for at least 6 months.
- An identification document such as a valid ID or even a birth certificate.
- At least three 1×1 photos.
The exact requirements might vary from city to city, check with your city’s Office of the Senior Citizen’s Affair.
The step-by-step application process for senior citizen ID
- Go to your city’s OSCA office and secure a senior citizen application form. Alternatively, you can download the form on your local government’s website.
- Fill out the form and make sure all the information is correct
- Submit your form together with the requirements.
- Your city’s OSCA will verify with you the information you’ve filled up before registering them in their system.
- The OSCA officer will give you a date to claim your ID. However, some cities can process the ID on the same day within 15 minutes or so.
There are more provisions that aim to expand the benefits further especially for the indigenous senior citizens, but currently still up in the air. Hopefully, though they will be incorporated into the existing laws that govern over the benefit of Seniors to make it more inclusive and to take better care of our elders in the country.
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