One of the best things to look forward to when you hit sixty is the myriad of benefits and discounts you can enjoy as a senior citizen in the Philippines.
For many individuals, it is, indeed, more fun to be a senior citizen here—and even more so in recent years. The Department of Labor and Employee (DOLE) recently put out a mandate on strengthening the programs that provide benefits to elderly Filipinos. If you are a senior citizen or are tasted to take care of a senior member of your family, you should be aware of the various benefits and discounts you or they are entitled to. That said, you need to equip yourself with information that will enable you to assert your rights under the law or render proper care to your older relatives while ensuring they are enjoying the full benefit of the law.
More importantly, if you are not a senior citizen yet, this article will aid you in preparing for the future when you reach your senior years. So, start familiarizing yourself with senior citizen privileges while you are still young and able so that when the time comes that it is your turn, you will not be ignorant of what you are entitled to.
WHEN DO YOU BECOME A SENIOR CITIZEN IN THE PHILIPPINES?
Based on the Republic Act of 9994, which is also commonly known as the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010, Filipinos are considered senior citizens when they reach sixty years old.
Under this Republic Act, all Filipino residents aged sixty years or older are automatically entitled to senior citizen benefits and privileges as afforded by the law. It is also worth noting that this law extends to dual citizens who have resided in the Philippines for at least six months.
WHAT ARE THE VARIOUS BENEFITS A SENIOR CITIZEN CAN AVAIL OF IN THE PHILIPPINES?
Under the Republic Act (Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010), senior citizens in the Philippines are entitled to these benefits in the Philippines:
a.) Retirement Benefits from SSS, GSIS, and PAG-IBIG
b.) Discounts in special programs for senior citizens
c.) Express lanes for senior citizens in all commercial establishments and government offices
d.) Free flu and pneumococcal vaccinations for indigent senior citizens,
e.) Training Fee exemptions on social and economic programs
f.) Scholarship and financial assistance for senior’s education in public and private schools.
g.) Free medical and dental services in government facilities
h.) Income tax exemption for minimum wage earners
MEDICAL BENEFITS FOR SENIOR CITIZENS
Under Republic Act 9994, senior citizens were afforded PhilHealth benefits. However, this was further strengthened by Republic Act 10645, which was enacted in 2014 and provided mandatory PhilHealth coverage to anyone above sixty years old. Essentially, this coverage is provided in addition to the 20% discount and VAT exemption every senior citizen is entitled to.
CASH BENEFITS FOR SENIOR CITIZENS
Cash benefits are also given to senior citizens in the Philippines. Under Republic Act No. 10868, which is also known as the Centenarians Act of 2016, seniors who reach the age of a hundred years old will receive a cash incentive of Php100,000. Apart from this centenarian incentive, indigent elderlies below the poverty allowance can also receive a monthly stipend of Php500, which is a subsidy program by the DSWD.
COMMUTING BENEFITS FOR SENIOR CITIZENS
Senior citizens in the Philippines get to enjoy queueing priority. This means that elderlies have special lanes in supermarkets, drug stores, fast food restaurants, banks, LRT, and MRT stations. Establishments without senior citizen lanes are required to prioritize elderly clients under Republic Act 9994.
DEATH BENEFITS OF SENIOR CITIZENS
Families of deceased senior citizens can claim a twenty percent discount on funeral and burial services. Death benefit extends to hospital morgues, caskets or urns, embalming, and cremation services. If the deceased senior citizen was a member of the SSS, their family could claim an SSS death benefit provided that the deceased paid at least 36 months of contribution before the semester of their death.
WHERE CAN YOU AVAIL OF SENIOR CITIZEN DISCOUNTS IN THE PHILIPPINES?
Under the Republic Act, elderly Filipinos aged sixty and above are entitled to a twenty percent discount and are exempted from paying value-added tax on applicable goods and services for their use exclusively. They can take advantage of these privileges using both cash and credit card payments.
Below is a list of where they can avail of senior citizen discounts:
- Medicines- Senior citizens can enjoy a discount on generic and branded medicines, vitamins, and mineral supplements (with a doctor’s prescription)
- Medical Supplies and Equipment- Hearing aids, wheelchairs, dentures, crutches, etc.
- Domestic air and sea travel fares
- Public land transportation fares
- Professional fees of licensed health workers and attending physicians
- Hotels and resorts
- Medical and dental services in private facilities (Lab tests such as X-rays, blood tests, etc.)
- Recreation centers
- Places of leisure (cinemas, theaters, concert halls, parks, museums, etc.)
- Funeral and burial services for deceased senior citizens