Is it more fun to be a senior citizen in the Philippines? It may seem so, especially now that the government provides elderly Filipinos with senior citizen discount and benefits to help ease their finances in their golden years.
As a millennial, you may be 30 to 40 years away from enjoying such privileges, but it helps to learn about them now, especially if you’re looking after your parents or grandparents. Yes, they need your help in knowing and asserting their rights under the senior citizen law.
To start off, here’s everything you need to know about senior citizen privileges in the Philippines.
What is the Senior Citizen Age?
The senior citizen age in the Philippines is 60 years old and above. This is based on the country’s senior citizen act, which is Republic Act 9994 also commonly known as the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010.
Senior Citizen Discount List in the Philippines
Republic Act 9994 defines the privileges all senior citizens in the Philippines are entitled to. Elderly Filipinos aged 60 and above are entitled to a 20% senior citizen discount and are exempted from the value-added tax (VAT) on applicable goods and services for their exclusive use. These privileges apply to both cash and credit card payments.
List of Senior Citizen Discounts and VAT Exemptions
Medicines: Generic and branded medicines, vitamins, and mineral supplements (with doctor’s prescription)
Medical supplies and equipment: Hearing aids, eyeglasses, wheelchairs, crutches, dentures, etc.
Medical and dental services in private facilities: Lab tests such as blood tests, x-rays, etc.
Professional fees of attending physicians and licensed health workers
Domestic air and sea travel fares
Public land transportation fares: Jeepneys, buses, taxis, shuttle services, MRT, LRT, PNR, etc.
Hotels: Accommodation and amenities in hotels, beach resorts, mountain resorts, etc.
Restaurants: Food, beverages, dessert, and other consumables for dine-in, take-out, drive-thru, and delivery orders
Recreation centers: Rental and other fees for sports facilities such as gyms, badminton courts, tennis courts, ballroom dancing studios, bowling lanes, etc.
Places of leisure: Cinemas, museums, parks, theaters, concert halls, etc.
Funeral and burial services for deceased senior citizens: hospital morgue, embalming, casket or urn, cremation, etc.
Other Mandatory Benefits of Senior Citizen
Apart from the 20% senior citizen discount and VAT exemption, Filipino seniors also enjoy many other privileges.
List of Senior Citizen Benefits
Income tax exemption for minimum wage earners
Training fee exemption on socio-economic programs
Free medical and dental services in government facilities
Free flu and pneumococcal vaccinations for indigent senior citizens
Scholarships and financial assistance for seniors’ education in public and private schools
Retirement benefits from SSS, GSIS, and Pag-IBIG
Discounts in special programs for senior citizens
Express lanes for senior citizens in all government offices and commercial establishments
What are the PhilHealth Benefits for Senior Citizens?
Under Republic Act 10645, all senior citizens automatically receive PhilHealth coverage in accredited healthcare facilities in the Philippines. It is mandatory for PhilHealth to provide such coverage to senior citizens.
Take note that the government provides this senior citizen benefit in addition to the senior citizen discount and VAT exemption. For private hospital confinement, the 20% discount and VAT exemption are deducted first from the medical bill before deducting the PhilHealth benefit.
Meanwhile, the No Balance Billing Policy applies in public hospitals, meaning senior citizen patients need no longer pay for their hospital bill.
Even without the Member Data Record (MDR), elderly patients can avail of treatments through their senior citizen ID or any government ID. However, it’s better to register as a senior citizen PhilHealth member to receive the benefits more seamlessly.
What are the Death Benefits for Senior Citizens?
Families of deceased senior citizens can claim a 20% discount on funeral and burial services. This death benefit applies to hospital morgues, caskets or urns, and embalming and cremation services.
On the other hand, if the deceased senior citizen was a member of the SSS, the family can claim an SSS death benefit provided that the late member had paid at least 36 months of contribution before the semester of their death.
Apart from SSS death benefits, the family or whoever paid for the burial expenses of the senior citizen can claim a funeral benefit. The amount for this benefit ranges from PHP 20,000 to PHP 40,000, depending on the late member’s number of paid contributions and average monthly salary credit.
What Other Senior Citizen Discounts and Benefits are Available?
Discount on Meralco and Other Utility Bills
Seniors can get a 5% discount on their power and water bills, as long as the accounts are registered in their name, and their household consumes not more than 100 kWh of electricity and 30 cubic meters of water in a month.
Discount on Certain Groceries
Can senior citizens get a 20% discount on groceries? No, they can’t. However, they can avail of a special 5% discount without VAT exemption on select grocery items, as granted by the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Agriculture.
Seniors who buy groceries worth up to PHP 1,300 per week enjoy 5% off the retail prices of at least four kinds of basic necessities and prime commodities:
Rice, bread, and corn
Chicken, beef, and pork (fresh, canned, and processed)
Coffee, creamer, and sugar
Fresh fruits and vegetables
Garlic and onions
Cooking oil and salt
Noodles, canned sardines, and canned tuna
Fresh milk and other dairy products
Electrical supplies, light bulbs, and batteries
How to Get the 5% Senior Citizen Grocery Discount
To get the 5% senior citizen discount on groceries, seniors must bring their OSCA purchase booklet when they shop in supermarkets, convenience stores, and drug stores. Sari-sari stores, cooperative stores, wet markets, and talipapa are exempted from giving the special discount.
Discount on GrabCar Rides
The Department of Transportation and LTFRB require ride-hailing services in the Philippines like Grab to provide the mandatory 20% discount to their senior customers.
To get this senior citizen discount, seniors must present their Senior Citizen ID (birth date must be visible) or valid government-issued ID with birthdate.
Discount on Jollibee and Other Fast Food Chains
Seniors enjoy a 20% discount on major fast food chains in the Philippines such as Jollibee, McDonald’s, Chowking, KFC, Greenwich, and even Mang Inasal. To claim this discount in store, just present the Senior Citizen ID. For online deliveries, just mention the senior citizen’s name and senior citizen number.
Discount on Domestic Flights
Traveling to local destinations are made cheaper for seniors, as the country’s major airlines have been offering the 20% senior citizen discount and VAT exemption for online bookings since September 2017. AirAsia, Cebu Pacific, and Philippine Airlines are implementing this senior citizen discount on their websites and mobile apps. Previously, the discount applied only to over-the-counter purchases at physical airline ticketing offices.
This senior citizen discount applies only to regular fares for domestic flights. It doesn’t cover promo fares, baggage allowance and other fees, and international flights. To avail of the discount, customers must enter their senior citizen ID number when booking a flight and present the ID upon check-in at the airport.
How to Compute Senior Citizen Discount
Senior citizens in the Philippines are exempted from paying Value Added Tax (VAT). To compute the VAT exempt sales, divide the selling price by the VAT rate. Below is a sample computation:
Product Price: PHP 500
VAT Rate: 12%
Formula: Selling Price ÷ VAT Rate = VAT Exempt Sales
Total: PHP 500 ÷ 1.12 = PHP 446.43
Senior citizens are entitled to a 20% discount upon purchase of goods and services. To compute for the discount, deduct the percentage by multiplying the VAT exempt sales by 20%.
Formula: VAT Exempt Sales x 20% = Senior Citizen Discount
Total: PHP 446.43 x 0.20 = PHP 89.29
To identify the billable amount, subtract the VAT exempt sales by senior citizen discount.
Formula: VAT Exempt Sales – Senior Citizen Discount = Billable Amount
Total: PHP 446.43 – PHP 89.29 = PHP 357.14
6 Facts about Senior Citizen Privileges You Might Not Know
The senior citizen law in the Philippines could be too complicated for common people to grasp, what with its many provisions and conditions. To avoid confusion and frustration, equip yourself with knowledge and share it with your elderly loved ones. Here are the important reminders about the special perks for senior citizens.
1. The Senior Citizen Law Applies Everywhere in the Philippines
When your senior parents or grandparents are denied the mandatory 20% discount anywhere in the Philippines, help them assert their right as senior citizens to the store owner or manager. The Expanded Senior Citizens Act applies in all establishments in all cities and provinces in the Philippines.
2. Elders Can Get a Senior Citizen Discount Using Any Valid ID
Seniors must present their senior citizen ID, issued by the Office of the Senior Citizen Affairs (OSCA), to avail of their privileges under the Senior Citizen Act. But without it, they’re still entitled to a senior citizen discount, as long as they present their government-issued ID that shows their age.
Without an OSCA-issued ID, elderly customers may show any of the following valid IDs:
SSS ID or UMID card
It’s illegal for businesses to honor only the senior citizen ID and refuse to give discounts when senior customers present another valid ID. In such a situation, seniors have the right to demand the discount due them.
3. An Authorized Representative May Claim the 20% Discount on a Senior’s Behalf
If your parents or grandparents are bedridden or too weak to buy their food and medicines, you may claim the senior citizen discount on their behalf, as long as they’re the ones who will use the discounted products and services.
To get the 20% discount on behalf of a senior citizen, a duly authorized representative must present these documents when paying for a purchase:
Senior citizen ID or any government ID
OSCA Purchase Booklet
The representative’s government ID
Signed authorization letter from the senior citizen
4. The Senior Citizen Act Doesn’t Allow Double Discounts
Can seniors avail of a promotional discount in hotels, restaurants, and other establishments on top of the 20% discount? The senior citizen law states that when seniors purchase something on a promo, they can get only either of the two discounts, whichever is higher.
The same goes for elderly persons with disability (PWDs). They’re entitled to either the senior citizen discount or the PWD discount, but not both.
5. Seniors Enjoy Vehicle Coding Exemption and Free Parking in Certain Cities
Some local government units in the Philippines pamper senior citizens with special perks, from free birthday cakes to free movies.
But the most practical and useful benefits for senior citizens have to do with commuting. In Makati and Manila, for example, seniors are exempted from the number coding scheme, whether as drivers or passengers. Meanwhile, registered senior citizens enjoy free parking in cities like Cebu City, Manila, Muntinlupa City, and Quezon City.
6. Seniors are Always a Priority in Queues
Senior citizens have special lanes in banks, LRT and MRT stations, fast food restaurants, supermarkets, and drug stores. But in establishments without senior citizen lanes, R.A. 9994 requires them to prioritize elderly clients.
So when cashiers, bank tellers, or government staff call a senior standing behind you in line to be served first (or when seniors cut you in line), they aren’t being inconsiderate or rude to you. They’re just obeying the law.
A senior citizen discount is like a token of gratitude for the seniors’ contribution to the country and your family. Show your love and care to your elders by making sure they get their senior citizen discount and other perks.
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