Embracing Old Age: Knowing Your Senior Citizen Discounts and Benefits

Senior citizen Benefits and discountd

For some a time of dread, for others, a time of relaxation, welcome to the age where you are finally a senior citizen! This may be one of the most awaited milestones for people who are looking forward to retiring from work and spending more time with the people they love. Moreover, is it more fun to be a senior citizen if you are in the Philippines? It may appear so! Particularly now that the government offers senior citizen discounts and benefits to help elderly Filipinos manage their finances in their retirement years.

Based on the Philippines’ senior citizen act, which is Republic Act 9994, commonly known as the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010, the senior citizen age in the country is 60 years old and above. The Republic Act 9994, or RA 9994, is a law that provides added benefits and privileges to senior citizens. To put it simply, it is the governing law that implements the rules and guidelines in availing the senior citizen discounts and benefits. The government aims to promote the welfare of every Filipino citizen, even those in old age. With regards to this, the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010 is the law that designed and legalized the implementation of the senior citizen ID.

The only recognized senior citizen ID card is the Office of the Senior Citizen Affairs (OSCA) ID card. RA 9994 provides the creation of the OSCA. It is an office founded in cities and municipalities under the Office of the Mayor. Some may think that any form of identification card that shows a person is old is enough to take advantage of the senior citizen discounts and benefits however, the Office of the Senior Citizen Affairs is the only legitimate body that can issue a card or document that proves a person’s entitlement of the senior citizen discounts and benefits.  Take into regard that there is no fee in availing of a senior citizen ID as it is for free. 

To know if you, or someone you know, could be qualified  for the senior citizen ID, first, check your eligibility:

  • Must be at least sixty (60) years old
  • Must be a Filipino citizen
  • Must be a resident of one’s city for at least six (6) months

If confirmed that an individual is qualified, here is a simple step by step guide to acquiring a senior citizen ID:

  1. Senior citizens should go to your local Office of the Senior Citizen Affairs (OSCA) and apply for a senior citizen ID.
  2. According to the website of the Office of the Senior Citizen Affairs (OSCA), the senior citizen must fill out the application form and submit the following documents. However, document requirements may vary per municipality:
  3. Birth certificate;
  4. Four (4) pieces of 1″ x 1″ ID photograph and;
  5. A photocopy of any of the following identification documents verifying the applicant’s name, date of birth, and present address.
    • Voter’s ID (Comelec)
    • Driver’s License
    • NBI Clearance
    • Police Clearance
    • Old Residence Certificate
  6. Then, OSCA will process the application and will grant the senior citizen ID which usually takes around ten (10) to fifteen (15) minutes.

If an individual has a senior citizen or OSCA ID, here is a detailed summary of the senior citizen discounts and benefits that they are entitled to:

A. Twenty percent (20%) discount and VAT exemption on the purchase of the following:

Generic and brand medicines and drugs; According to a recent update, Executive Order No. 1044 took effect in June 2020, which mandates a 50% reduction in the prices of medicines for top chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, chronic kidney disease, asthma/chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and cancer. This means that apart from the 20% standard discount, senior citizens can now also enjoy an additional 50% decrease in the prices of medicines they purchase.

  • Influenza and pneumococcal vaccines;
  • Vitamins and minerals supplements provided that it is medically prescribed by the physician for the prevention and treatment of disease, illness, or injury;
  • Medical supplies and equipment such as eyeglasses, hearing aids, dentures, prosthetics, artificial bone replacements like steel, walkers, crutches, wheelchairs whether manual or electric-powered, canes/quad canes, geriatric diapers, and other essential medical-related supplies, accessories, and equipment by and/ or for senior citizens.
  • Medical devices used or consumed during check-ups or confinement or to be used during the recovery at home or for monitoring of a particular disease or to aid the maintenance of treatment provided the physician prescribed the use of such medical devices;
  • Medical and dental services in private facilities;
  • Diagnostic laboratory tests (such as X-Rays, computerized tomography or CT scans, and blood tests) that are requested by a physician in private facilities;
  • Professional fees of attending physicians in all private hospitals, medical facilities, outpatient clinics, and home care facilities;
  • Professional fees of licensed health workers providing home health care services, such as doctors, nurses, midwives, nutritionists, psychologists, and massage therapists, as endorsed by hospitals or employed through home health care employment agencies. The burden of the 20% discount and VAT exemption provided to senior citizens will be supported by the employment agency and not the health care worker given the minimal share of the latter compared to the total profits earned by the agency;
  • Medical and dental services, diagnostic and laboratory fees, and professional fees of attending physicians and other health professionals are confined to pay sections of government hospitals/health facilities.

B. Free on the following services in all service wards of government hospitals, medical facilities, outpatient clinics, and home health care clinics:

  • Medical and dental services;
  • Diagnostic and laboratory services requested by the physician (e.g. X-Rays, computerized tomography or CT scans, blood tests);
  • Professional fees of the attending doctor;
  • Influenza virus and pneumococcal vaccinations are administered by the DOH.

C. Mandatory PhilHealth coverage

  • Previously, only indigent senior citizens were covered by PhilHealth. Currently, all senior citizens, regardless of status in life, are now covered by the national health insurance program of PhilHealth. According to Republic Act No. 10645, are no longer required to pay PhilHealth contributions since they are automatically qualified to avail and enjoy all the PhilHealth benefits.

2. Transportation privileges

A. Twenty percent (20%) discount and VAT exemption on the fare of the following:

  • Domestic air and sea travel including booking;
  • In addition to the fare, domestic shipping companies or owners and operators of passenger-carrying ships shall also grant a twenty percent (20%) discount and VAT exemption on food and drinks, medicines on board, and services and recreation inside the ship. They are also to observe courtesy and civility during embarkation and disembarkation.
  • In addition, there is a requirement for air carriers to designate at least one (1) check-in counter that will give priority to passengers that are senior citizens. In case a check-in counter is not possible, priority handling and processing should be made. Air carriers are required to coordinate with proper authorities for the use of airport equipment, entryways, etc. to facilitate transactions, movement, boarding, and/or disembarkation of senior citizens at the airport. One person can accompany a senior citizen to the designated check-in counter.
  • Public railways (MRT, LRT, and PNR);
  • Senior citizens can get the twenty percent (20%) discount on Single Journey and Stored Value Tickets directly at all stations by presenting their valid Office of the Senior Citizen’s Affairs (OSCA) or National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA) ID to the station tellers. Special seats behind the train operator’s cabin are strictly allotted for senior citizens alongside persons with disabilities (PWDs), pregnant women, and women with infants.
  • Public Utility buses, jeepneys, taxis, and shuttle services.

B. Exempt from payment of passenger terminal fees in airports and seaports.

3. Travel, entertainment, and recreation

  • Twenty percent (20%) discount and VAT exemption on the following:
  • Room accommodation and other amenities in hotels, such as mountain and beach resorts, and similar establishments like hotel-based parlors and barbershops, restaurants, massage parlors, spas, sauna baths, workout gyms, swimming pools, jacuzzis, aromatherapy rooms, KTV bars, internet facilities, food, drinks, and other services offered;
  • Consumable items in restaurants, such as but not limited to, food, drinks, and desserts. The discount for dine-in services in hotels and restaurants must personally be availed by the senior citizen and no substitute or authorization in favor of another person who is not a senior citizen shall be honored. Moreover, as long as the senior citizen is present and personally ordering and can show the senior ID, the discount shall apply even to take-out or drive-thru orders. For take-out, drive-thru, and delivery orders, the most expensive meal, or the amount corresponding to the combination of the most expensive and biggest single-serving meal with a beverage, shall apply to food purchases by senior citizens. Furthermore, for orders made via delivery, the discount shall be applied provided that the senior citizen card number is given while making the order over the telephone, and the senior citizen ID card should also be presented upon delivery to verify the identity of the senior citizen. Discounts on food, drinks, and desserts, however, shall not apply to pre-contracted party packages or bulk orders.
  • Fees, charges, and rental for sports facilities and equipment including golf cart rentals and green fees, venues for ballroom dancing and yoga, badminton courts, bowling lanes, table or lawn tennis, workout gyms, and martial arts facilities. Although, non-profit, stock golf, and country clubs that offer exclusive membership, meaning they are private and are not open for public use, are not mandated to grant the twenty percent (20%) senior citizen discount. Nevertheless, restaurants inside these private country clubs are still required to give the discount provided they are independent concessionaires and the foods and drinks they are selling are not consumable items under club membership dues;
  • Admission fees in culture, leisure, and amusement places such as theaters, cinema houses, concert halls, circuses, carnivals, museums, and parks.

4. Utility discounts

  • Five percent (5%) discount on the monthly utilization of electricity and water by a household with a senior citizen. Take note that meters for water and electricity should be registered in the name of the senior citizen residing herein to avail of the discount. On top of that, the monthly consumption should not exceed one hundred kilowatts per hour (100kWh) of electricity and thirty cubic meters (30m’) of water. Regardless of the number of senior citizens residing herein, the discount provided shall be observed per household.
  • Fifty percent (50%) discount on all electricity, water, and telephone consumption for Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)- accredited senior citizens centers and residential care institutions or group homes. The establishments should either be run by the government or non-stock non-profit domestic corporations which are primarily founded and operated for the care of the elderly. In addition, the establishment must have been in operation for at least six (6) months and must have a separate meter for the said utilities.

 5. Taxation

  • Exemption from payment of Value Added Tax (VAT) on the purchase of goods and services discussed herein.
  • Per Republic Act No. 95045, exemption from payment of individual income tax provided the senior citizen is a minimum wage earner.

6. necessities and prime commodities

A. Five percent (5%) discount on the purchase of the following necessities:

  • All kinds of variants of rice;
  • Corn;
  • All kinds of bread aside from pastries and cakes which are not included;
  • Fresh, dried, and canned fish, and other marine products, including frozen and in various modes of packaging;
  • Fresh pork, beef, and poultry meat;
  • All kinds of fresh eggs except quail eggs;
  • Potable water in bottles and containers;
  • Fresh and processed milk, excluding milk labeled as a food supplement;
  • Fresh vegetables including root crops;
  • Fresh fruits;
  • Locally manufactured instant noodles;
  • Coffee and coffee creamer;
  • All kinds of sugar and salt, excluding artificial sweetener;
  • All kinds of cooking oil;
  • Powdered, liquid, bar laundry, and detergent soap;
  • Firewood, charcoal, all kinds of candles;
  • Liquified petroleum gas, provided that it is not more than eleven (11) kilograms, LPG content once every five months bought from LPG dealers;
  • Kerosene, but not more than 2 liters per month.

B. Five percent (5%) on the purchase of the following prime commodities:

  • Flour;
  • Dried, processed, and canned pork, beef, and poultry meat;
  • Dairy products;
  • Onions and garlic;
  • Vinegar, patis, and soy sauce;
  • Toilet or bath and soap;
  • Fertilizer, pesticides, and herbicides;
  • Poultry feeds, livestock feeds, and fishery feeds;
  • Veterinary products;
  • Paper, school supplies;
  • Nipa shingles;
  • Sawali;
  • Cement, clinker, GI Sheets;
  • Hollow blocks;
  • Plywood, plyboard, construction nails;
  • Batteries excluding cell phone and automotive batteries;
  • Electrical supplies and light bulbs;
  • Steel wires

Some guidelines to take note of:

  • The five percent (5%) discount can be availed of in supermarkets, grocery stores, convenience stores, and the like. However, stalls in food courts, food carts, food vendors, sari-sari stores with a capitalization of less than one hundred thousand pesos (Php 100,000), public and private wet markets, “talipapa”, and other cooperative stores are not included.
  • The five percent (5%) discount is on the regular retail price excluding VAT.
  • The total amount of purchase per calendar week is one thousand three hundred pesos (Php 1,300) without carrying over to the unused amount.
  • Senior citizens should obtain a Purchase Booklet at OSCA (Office of the Senior Citizen’s Affairs). You will need to present this booklet every time you acquire the necessities and prime commodities.
  • Establishments should designate a special express lane, or, in the absence thereof, a priority lane, for senior citizens.
  • Double discounts are prohibited. You can either choose to avail of the senior citizen discount and benefits or the promotional discount.
  • At times when you are not able to personally buy the goods, you may opt to authorize a representative to purchase on your behalf. Provided that the authorized representative shall need to present an authorization letter, a valid ID, and your Office of the Senior Citizen’s Affairs (OSCA) issued document.

7. Government assistance

  • Information and matching services for potential employment opportunities.
  • Free livelihood training programs.
  • Access to formal and non-formal education is provided by the Department of Education (DepEd), the Department of Science and Technology- Technology Resource Center (DOST-TRC), and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).
  • Development and implementation of programs and social services for senior citizens such as the construction and design of a National Health Program by the Department of Health (DOH) which caters to the needs of the elderly alongside incorporating the National Prevention of Blindness Program.
  • Inclusion of the special needs of senior citizens in the National Shelter Program such as the establishment of housing units for the senior citizens.
  • Firm enactment of courtesy space and seats for the exclusive use of senior citizens in all transport systems.
  • Social pension amounting to five hundred pesos (Php 500) per month for indigent senior citizens.

8. Funeral and burial services

  • Twenty percent (20%) discount and VAT exemption on the purchase of the following:
  • Casket or urn
  • Embalming services
  • Cremation
  • Viewing or wake cost
  • Pick-up from the hospital morgue
  • Transport of the body to the intended burial site in the place of origin
  • Obituary publication and the cost of the memorial lot, however, are excluded from the 20% discount.
  • Death benefit assistance amounting to two thousand pesos (Php 2,000) shall be granted to the nearest surviving relative who took care of the deceased indigent senior citizen.
  • The individual who may claim the discount is the beneficiary or any person who shouldered the funeral expenses of the deceased elderly. Once identified, the individual may claim the discount upon presentation of the deceased senior citizen’s death certificate.

Some reminders:

  1. Please note that in senior citizen discounts and benefits, services that are not medically necessary for treatment and diagnosis, such as but not limited to cosmetic surgery procedures, executive check-up packages, and physical examinations, shall not be provided with any discounts.
  2. If in case the senior citizen is also a Person with Disability (PWD), the elderly may opt to avail of only one which can either be the senior citizen discount or the PWD Discount.
  3. In some cases wherein an establishment may fail to honor the twenty percent (20%) discount, the senior citizen is encouraged to report to the Local Government Unit- Office of the Senior Citizen’s Affairs (LGU- OSCA) where the transaction was fulfilled or where the senior citizen resides, whichever is more convenient for the elderly.
  4. The twenty percent (20%) discount and Value Added Tax (VAT) exemption may also be claimed for purchases of goods or services paid by the senior citizen through his or her credit card.
  5. The twenty percent (20%) discount and VAT exemption will only apply ONCE on the purchase of non-disposable medical devices for personal use such as a weighing scale, blood pressure apparatus, and a glucometer.

Senior citizen discounts and benefits are like a token of appreciation for the elderly’s valuable contribution to our society. Throughout their work, they have offered their dedication and service to our country hence, they are most deserving to receive the benefits and privileges to ensure that they live their golden years with ease. Moreover, for those who are about to reach their retirement age, you may consider purchasing your own home may it be a house and lot or condominium unit to enjoy your retirement years with relief and have opportunities to try new hobbies such as landscaping. BRIA Homes prime itself on the development of affordable house and lot packages and easy-on-the-pocket condominium units that caters to ordinary Filipino families who aspire to acquire their own homes. It had become the perfect choice for average Filipino workers who wanted to invest in a home that is both high quality and affordable.

Read also: 10 Tips in Achieving Your Dream Affordable House and Lot This 2022

Written by MC Sanchez