Turning sixty is quite a significant event in many Filipinos’ lives.
For many, it is a time for celebration—an event that opens doors to many perks and opportunities. For others, it is a time of dread, and for most, it is a time of relaxation. Considered as one of the most awaited milestones in life, reaching the age of sixty in the Philippines means that you get the opportunity to retire from work and spend more time with the people you love. Indeed, many may even say that it is so much more fun to be a senior citizen in this country.
And why is this? Well, for starters is that the government offers senior citizens various discounts and benefits that will aid elderly Filipinos manage their finances better in their retirement years. In a sense, it is a way of giving back to the elderlies who have served and worked throughout their adult years, and allows them to enjoy their retirement years without so much of a worry.
REPUBLIC ACT 9994 (Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010)
Under this law, Filipino citizens who are sixty years old and above are considered seniors. This law also provides additional benefits and privileges to senior citizens. Succinctly put, Republic Act 9994 is the governing law that implements all the guidelines and rules in availing of senior citizen benefits and discounts. It is also the same law that designed and legalized the implementation of the senior citizen ID.
Today, the senior citizen ID card is the Office of the Senior Citizen Affairs (OSCA) ID card is the only one that is recognized. Some seniors may be under the impression that any form of identification card that shows they are old enough may be used to avail of senior citizen benefits of discounts. However, this is a common misconception. The Office of the Senior Citizen Affairs is the only legitimate body mandated by law that can issue an identification card or document that proves an individual’s entitlement to senior citizen discounts and benefits. There is no need to pay a fee to avail of a senior citizen card as it is free.
SENIOR CITIZEN BENEFITS
1.) Health or medical-related privileges
a.) Senior citizens are entitled to a twenty percent discount and VAT exemption on the purchases of generic or brand medicines and drugs. When Executive Order No. 1044 took effect, a further 50% reduction in the prices of medicines for top chronic diseases (diabetes, chronic kidney disease, asthma/chronic pulmonary disease, cancer, and hypertension) was implemented. The passage of this law means that senior citizens can enjoy an additional fifty percent discount on top of the twenty percent discount they already enjoy.
b.) Senior citizens are also given the privilege of free services in all service wards of government hospitals, medical facilities, home health care clinics, and outpatient clinics.
c.) Before Republic Act 9994 was passed, only indigent senior citizens were entitled to PhilHealth coverage. However, with the law’s passage, all senior citizens, regardless of status in life, are covered by PhilHealth’s health insurance program.
2.) Transportation privileges
Senior citizens are entitled to a twenty percent discount and VAT exemption on domestic air and sea travel, including booking. Apart from that, they are also entitled to a twenty percent discount on food and drinks, medicines, services, and recreation inside the ship. Senior citizens also get their own special lane which shall give them a priority. In case no check-in counter is available for them, they should be given priority handling and processing. The same applies to public railways such as MRT, LRT, and PNR and public utility vehicles (buses, jeepneys, taxis, and shuttle services)
Additionally, senior citizens are exempt from payment of passenger terminal fees in airports and seaports.
3.) Travel, entertainment, and recreation
Senior citizens are entitled to a twenty percent discount and VAT exemption on room accommodations and other amenities in hotels and resorts or any other similar establishments. They are also entitled to the same discount in restaurants, and when orders are made via delivery, discounts can be applied, provided that the senior citizen card number is provided while making the order. Moreover, the senior citizen ID card should also be presented upon delivery to verify the senior citizen’s identity.
4.) Utility discounts
Senior citizens can avail of a five percent discount on the monthly utilization of electricity and water. However, meters for water and electricity should be registered in the name of the senior citizen residing therein to avail of the discount. Moreover, monthly consumption should not exceed one hundred kilowatts per hour and thirty cubic meters of water. For senior citizens living in the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)- accredited senior citizen centers and residential care institutions or group homes, senior citizens are entitled to a fifty percent discount on all electricity, water, and telephone consumption.
Senior citizens are exempted from the payment of Value Added Tax on any purchase of goods and services discussed in the Republic Act. They are also exempted from paying individual income tax if they are minimum wage earners.