Privileges for Senior Citizens & Retirees in the Philippines

As provided in the Philippines’ Constitution, the state is duty-bound to recognize the rights of senior citizens by providing support though various social programs. Thus, senior citizens are granted benefits and privileges that range from 20% discount and VAT exemption to mandatory membership in the government’s healthcare system, Philhealth. Here’s a quick list detailing the many benefits provided by the Government. For more details, visit gov.ph.

Senior citizens are granted several benefits and privileges under Republic Act No. 9994 and Republic Act No. 10645. In order to avail of these benefits, the senior citizen or his/her authorized representative shall present a valid and original Senior Citizens’ Identification Card. Senior Citizens’ Identification Card is issued by the Office of Senior Citizens Affairs (OSCA) in the city or municipality where the senior citizen resides. Documentary requirements vary per municipality, but the basic qualifications based on RA 9994 are as follows:

01 Must be a Filipino citizen who is a resident of the Philippines;

02 Must be 60 years old or above;

03 May apply to senior citizens with dual citizenship provided that they prove their Filipino citizenship and have at least six months residency in the Philippines.

TWENTY PERCENT (20%) DISCOUNT AND VAT EXEMPTION

01 Medical Related Privileges

I. MEDICINE AND DRUG PURCHASES

The 20% discount and VAT exemption shall apply to the purchase of the following:

01 Generic or branded medicines and drugs by or for senior citizens, including the purchase of influenza and pneumococcal vaccines.

02 Vitamins and mineral supplements that are medically prescribed by an attending physician for prevention and treatment of diseases, illness, or injury.

II. ESSENTIAL MEDICAL SUPPLIES, ACCESSORIES, AND EQUIPMENT

The 20% discount and VAT exemption privilege shall also apply to following:

01 The purchase of eyeglasses;

02 Hearing aids;

03 Dentures;

04 Prosthetics;

05 Artificial bone replacements like steel, walkers, crutches, wheelchairs (whether manual or electric-powered), canes/quad canes;

06 Geriatric diapers, and

07 Other essential medical supplies, accessories and equipment by or for senior citizens.

III. MEDICAL AND DENTAL SERVICES IN PRIVATE FACILITIES

Medical and dental services, diagnostic and laboratory tests such as but not limited to X-Rays, computerized tomography scans, and blood tests, that are requested by a physician as necessary for the diagnosis and/or treatment of an illness or injury are subject to the 20% discount and VAT exemption.

IV. PROFESSIONAL FEES OF ATTENDING PHYSICIAN/S

The fees of attending physician/s in all private hospitals,medical facilities, outpatient clinics and home health care facilities shall be subject to the 20% discount and VAT exemption.

V. PROFESSIONAL FEES OF LICENSED HEALTH WORKERS PROVIDING HOME HEALTH CARE SERVICES

As endorsed by private hospitals or employed through home health care employment agencies are entitled to the 20% discount and VAT exemption. The burden of the discount shall be borne solely by the employment agency given the health worker’s very minimal share compared to the agency fee.

02 DOMESTIC TRANSPORTATION PRIVILEGES

I. Air and Sea Transportation Privileges

Fare for domestic air, and sea travel, including advanced booking, shall be subject to the 20% discount and VAT exemption, if applicable.

II. Public Land Transportation Privileges

Fare in public railways, including LRT, MRT, and PNR, fares in buses (PUB), jeepneys (PUJ), taxi and shuttle services (AUV), are likewise subject to the 20% discount and VAT exemption, if applicable.

III. Hotels, restaurants, recreational centers, and places of leisure.

01 Hotels and Similar Lodging Establishments

The term “hotel” shall include beach and mountain resorts. The discount shall be for room accommodation and other amenities offered by the establishment such as but not limited to:

Hotel-based parlors and barbershops, restaurants, massage parlor, spa, sauna bath, aromatherapy rooms, workout gyms, swimming pools, jacuzzis, ktv bars, internet facilities, food, drinks and other services offered.

02 Restaurants

The discount shall be for the purchase of:

01 Food;

02 Drinks;

03 Dessert, and

04 Other consumable items served by the establishments offered for the consumption of the general public.

Guidelines for dine-in, take out, and availing of the senior citizen discounts in restaurants and similar establishments and services:

01 For Dine-in services, the privilege must be personally availed of by the senior citizen and no proxies or authorization in favor of another person who is not a senior citizen will be honored.

02 The 20% senior citizen discount shall not apply to “children’s meals” which are primarily prepared and intentionally marketed for children. Similarly, the 20% senior citizen discount shall not apply to “pre-contracted” party packages or bulk orders. Consistent with the intent of the Act, the phrase “exclusive use and enjoyment” of the senior citizen shall mean “for the senior citizen’s personal consumption” only.

03 Food, drinks and other consumable items purchased by the senior citizen shall be processed separately as an independent transaction from his/her non-eligible companions to ensure that it is for his/her exclusive consumption and to enable computation of the 20% discount and the exemption from the Value Added Tax (VAT), which only the senior citizen is entitled to.

04 If the group of diners is composed entirely of senior citizens, all of whom present valid senior citizens IDs, each shall be entitled to a 20% discount and exemption from Value Added Tax.

05 The 20% discount shall apply to Take-Out/Take-Home/Drive-Thru orders as long as it is the senior citizen himself/herself who is present and personally ordering, and he/she can show a valid senior citizen ID card.

06 For Delivery Orders, the 20% discount shall likewise apply subject to certain conditions; i.e. senior citizen ID card number must be given while making the order over the telephone; the senior citizen ID card must also be presented upon delivery to verify the identity of the senior citizen entitled to the 20% discount.

07 The Most Expensive Meal Combination (MEMC) shall apply to food purchases by senior citizens. The MEMC is an amount corresponding to the combination of the most expensive and biggest single-serving meal with beverage served in a quick service restaurant, is deemed flexible and is adjusted accordingly by food establishments to estimate a single food purchase for an individual senior citizen.

03 Recreation Centers

The discount shall be for the utilization of services in the form of:

01 Fees;

02 Charges and rental for sports facilities or equipment, including golf cart rentals and green fees;

03 Venues for ballroom dancing, yoga, badminton courts, bowling lanes, table or lawn tennis, workout gyms, martial arts facilities.

Note: Non-profit, stock golf and country clubs which are not open to the general public, and are private and for exclusive membership only as duly proven by their official Securities and Exchange (SEC) registration papers, are not mandated to give the 20% senior citizens discount. However, should restaurants and food establishments inside these country clubs be independent concessionaires and food sold are not consumable items under club membership dues, they must grant the 20% senior citizen discount.

04 Admission Fees Privileges

The discount shall be applied to admission fees charged by:

01 Theaters;

02 Cinema houses and concert halls;

03 Circuses;

04 Carnivals, and other similar places of culture, leisure and amusement such as museums and parks.

OTHER PRIVILEGES

01 Income tax exemption

The senior citizen shall be entitled to exemption from the payment of the individual income tax, provided he/she is considered to be minimum wage earner in accordance with Republic Act No. 9504.

02 Exemption from training fees

The senior citizen shall be exempted from training fees for socio-economic programs conducted by private and government agencies subject to the guidelines issued by the DTI, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), the DA, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and the Department of Science and Technology – Technology Resource Center (DOST – TRC).

03 Free medical and dental services in government facilities

Medical and dental services, diagnostic and laboratory tests requested by the physician such as but not limited to X-rays, computerized tomography scans, and blood tests availed of by senior citizens, including professional fees of attending doctors in all government hospitals, medical facilities, outpatient clinics, and home health care services, shall be provided free of charge to senior citizens. These shall be in accordance with the rules and regulations to be issued by the DOH, in coordination with the PhilHealth.

04 Educational Privileges

Educational assistance shall be granted to senior citizens to pursue post secondary, post tertiary, as well as vocational or technical education in both public and private schools through provision of scholarships, grants, financial aid, subsidies and other incentives to qualified senior citizens.

This will also include support for books, learning materials, and uniform allowance, to the extent feasible: Provided, that senior citizens shall meet minimum admission requirements.

I. Benefits and privileges for retirees

To the extent practicable and feasible, the senior citizen shall be granted the continuance of the same benefits and privileges given by the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), Social Security System (SSS) and PAG-IBIG, as the case may be, as are enjoyed by those in active service.

Retirement benefits of retirees from both the government and the private sector shall be regularly reviewed every year to ensure their continuing responsiveness and sustainability, and to the extent practicable and feasible, shall be upgraded to be at par with the current scale enjoyed by those in actual service based on National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) poverty threshold per region as determined by the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB).

II. Privileges on granting special discounts in special programs

To the extent possible, the government may grant special discounts in special programs for senior citizens on purchase of basic necessities and prime commodities, Provided, that such special programs and their guidelines shall be developed by the concerned department within the concerned department’s jurisdiction.

III. Express lanes privileges

Accessible express lanes for senior citizens shall be provided in all private, banking, commercial, and government establishments; in the absence thereof, priority shall be given to them.

IV. Utility Discounts

01 Five (5%) Discount

The grant of a minimum of five percent (5%) discount relative to the monthly utilization of water and electricity by households with senior citizens;

Provided, that the individual meters for the foregoing utilities are registered in the name of the senior citizen residing therein: provided, further, that the monthly consumption does not exceed one hundred kilowatt hours (100 kWh) of electricity and thirty cubic meters (30 m’) of water:

Provided, furthermore, that the privilege is granted per household regardless of the number of senior citizens residing therein.

To avail of the discount under this Section, the senior citizen shall:

01
Apply for the discount personally or thru a representative. There shall be annual renewal of application to the utility provider.

02 Submit requirements:

A. Proof of age and citizenship;

B. Proof of billing. Meter registration should be in the name of the senior citizen for a period of one year;

C. Proof of residence.

02 Fifty (50%) Discount

The grant of a 50% discount on all electricity, water, telephone consumption for DSWD-accredited senior citizens centers and residential care institutions or group homes that are government-run or organized and operated by non-stock, non-profit domestic corporations, primarily for the purpose of promoting the well-being of abandoned, neglected, unattached or homeless senior citizens.

Such senior citizen centers and residential care or group homes must have been in operation for at least six (6) months and must have a separate meter for said utilities/services.

01 Credit card payments

The 20% discount and VAT exemption shall also apply to purchases of goods and services by senior citizens paying through credit cards.

02 No double discounts

In the purchase of goods and services which are on promotional discount, the senior citizen can avail of the establishment’s offered discount or the 20% discount provided herein, whichever is higher and more favorable.

In cases where the senior citizen is also a person with disability (PWD) entitled to a 20% discount under his/her valid PWD identification card (ID), the senior citizen shall use either his/her OSCA-issued ID card or PWD ID card to avail of the 20% discount.

03 Tax deduction

The establishment may claim the discounts provided herein as tax deductions based on the cost of the goods sold or services rendered: Provided, that the cost of the discount shall be allowed as deduction from gross income for the same taxable year that the discount is granted;

Provided, further, That the total amount of the claimed tax deduction net of VAT, if applicable, shall be included in their gross sales receipts for tax purposes and shall be subject to proper documentation and to the provisions of the National Internal Revenue Code (NIRC), as amended.

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