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.
The Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010 (Republic Act 9994) defines the privileges all senior citizens are entitled to. Elderly Filipinos aged 60 and above are entitled to a 20% senior citizen discount and 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.
- 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.
Aside from the 20% senior citizen discount and VAT exemption, Filipino seniors also enjoy many other privileges.
- 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
Know that a senior citizen is 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
Solution: 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
Solution: 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
Solution: PHP 446.43 – PHP 89.29 = PHP 357.14
The senior citizen law in the Philippines could be too complicated for common people to grasp, what with its many provisions and conditions. There are gray areas, too, leaving a lot of elders, their family, and business owners confused.
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.
Under Republic Act 10645, all senior citizens automatically receive PhilHealth coverage in accredited healthcare facilities in the Philippines.
The government provides this 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 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 seamlessly.
Many businesses outside Metro Manila seem to be unaware of the Senior Citizen Act that they don’t give the senior citizen discount, a Philippine Daily Inquirer report notes.
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.
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:
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.
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
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.
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.
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)
- Fresh eggs
- 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
- Geriatric diapers
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.
The Department of Transportation and LTFRB require ride-hailing services in the Philippines to provide the mandatory 20% discount to their senior customers.
Grab, for example, provides this senior citizen discount but requires qualified Grab riders to apply first before availing it.
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.
The 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.
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.
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, RA 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.