Despite the aches and pains that come with age, there are certain advantages to being older. Senior citizens now have access to benefits that help them manage their finances and health, improve their quality of life, and continue to contribute to society.
The legislation that made this possible, the importance of a senior citizen ID, and the perks that Filipinos receive when they turn 60 are all discussed here.
In 1992, the Philippine Congress passed Republic Act No. 7432, titled “An Act to Maximize the Contribution of Senior Citizens to Nation Building, Grant Benefits and Special Privileges, and for Other Purposes.”
It enhanced government aid to persons and institutions caring for the elderly, and mandated the establishment of an Office of Senior Citizen Affairs (OSCA) in every city and municipality.
It also detailed their benefits, which included a 20% discount on some services. The Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2003, or Republic Act No. 9257, extended these benefits.
Educational help and express lanes for the elderly, as well as utility rebates for organizations that care for them, are among the additional benefits. Under Republic Act No. 9994, or the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010, senior citizen benefits were enhanced even more.
Supplementary health services, a social pension for poor elders, a 5% electricity bill discount, and required PhilHealth coverage are among the new benefits.
What Is a Senior Citizen Identification Card?
The card issued by the OSCA office of the city or municipality where the old person resides is known as a senior citizen ID. This locally issued ID is accepted all around the country.
Eligibility and Requirements for Senior Citizen Identification
You must complete the following requirements to obtain a senior citizen ID from your local OSCA:
- a minimum of 60 years old;
- a Filipino national
- Having spent at least six months in your city or municipality
How to Obtain a Senior Citizen Identification Card
The specific criteria may differ depending on the city or municipality, so be sure to contact or phone your local OSCA office to obtain the relevant paperwork and credentials.
The following are the general steps:
Step 1: Pick up an application form for a senior citizen ID from your local OSCA office or download one from your city’s website.
Step 2: Submit the completed form, along with the following documentation, to the OSCA office:
- Photocopies of recent 1″x1″ photographs
- Certificate of Birth
Any of the following IDs can be used:
- Postal ID
- Driver’s license
- NBI clearance
- Voter’s ID
- Police clearance
- Old residence certificate
- or any other documentation including your name, date of birth, and current address
The OSCA staff may be able to help you fill out the application form if you need it. You can also bring a friend, such as a child, a caregiver, or a grandchild, to assist you in providing the necessary personal information.
Step 3: When your ID is ready to pick up, your municipal/city OSCA office will notify you. In some OSCA offices, IDs can be processed in as little as 10-15 minutes.
Step 4: Before leaving the OSCA office, double-check that all of the information on your ID is accurate.
Benefits for Senior Citizens
As a senior citizen in the Philippines, you are entitled to the following
- A 20% discount is available on a limited number of items and services.
- Basic and prime commodities, as well as utility bills, are discounted by 5%.
- Individuals are exempt from paying income taxes (for seniors who are minimum wage earners)
- PhilHealth coverage is required.
- Retirement benefits from GSIS and SSS
- In business and government establishments, express lanes or priority status are available.
- Free medical and dental treatments, including x-rays, computed tomography scans, and blood tests, are available in government facilities.
- The government provides help to elderly people who are able and willing to work.
- a person who is fragile, sickly, or disabled; and
- has never received a pension from the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), the Social Security System (SSS), the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO), the Armed Forces and Police Mutual Benefit Association (AFPMBAI), or any other insurance company;
- no reliable source of income; and
- They do not receive regular financial assistance from relatives to meet their basic necessities.
- Exemption from paying training fees for private and government-sponsored socioeconomic programs, subject to guidelines issued by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), the Department of Agriculture, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), and the Department of Science and Technology’s Technology Resource Center (DOST-TRC).
- During economic shocks and tragedies, social safety nets such as food, medicine, and financial support for home repairs are available.
- Additional benefits for centenarians: Under Republic Act No. 10868 (Centenarians Act of 2016), Filipinos who attain the age of 100 in the Philippines or abroad will receive Php100,000 and a letter of congratulations from the Philippine president.
Discounts for senior citizens and VAT exemptions
Senior Citizens are entitled to 20% discounts and VAT exemptions on the following items:
- Drug stores, hospital pharmacies, medical and optical clinics, and non-traditional retailers sell medicines and necessary medical supplies, such as influenza and pneumococcal vaccines.
- Air, boat, and land transportation are all options for domestic travel (buses, jeepneys, taxis, AUVs, shuttle services, LRT, MRT, PNR, and ride-hailing services like Grab)
- Hotels, tourist inns, and apartelles are examples of lodging establishments.
- Restaurants and fast food chains, including phoned-in food orders, if the senior citizen’s ID number can be provided over the phone and presented when the food is delivered
- Cinemas, concert halls, amusement parks, gyms, and sports facilities are examples of recreational and leisure centers.
- Morgue services, cremation, and caskets are examples of funeral and burial services. Purchases of memorial lots and fees for obituary publications are not included.
- Medical and dental services, as well as laboratory expenses, are subject to Department of Health and PhilHealth norms in private hospitals, medical facilities, outpatient clinics, and home health care services.
- Medical physicians’ fees in private hospitals, medical centers, outpatient clinics, and home health care services
- alcoholic beverages in a single serving
Aside from these, older citizens are eligible for a 5% discount (but no VAT exemption) on the following items: At least four essentials and premium commodities can be found at supermarkets, grocery stores, convenience stores, and bakeries.
Basic necessities include:
- fresh, dried, and canned fish and marine products
- fresh pork, beef, and poultry meat
- fresh eggs
- fresh and processed milk
- fresh vegetables and root crops
- coffee and coffee creamer
- cooking oil
- powdered, liquid, and bar laundry and detergent soaps
Prime commodities include:
- fresh fruits
- dried, processed, and canned pork, beef, and poultry meat
- canned sardines, tuna
- dairy products not listed as basic necessities
- geriatric diapers
- poultry, swine, and cattle feeds
- veterinary products for poultry, swine, and cattle
- nipa shingle, plyboard, construction nails
- electrical supplies and light bulbs
- steel wire
- drugs not classified as essential by the DOH
A senior citizen discount is a way of thanking seniors for their contributions to the country and your family. Show your elders that you care by ensuring that they receive their senior citizen discount and other benefits.