Is it more fun to be a senior citizen in the Philippines? It may seem so, especially now that the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) recently put a mandate on strengthening the programs that provide benefits to elderly Filipinos.
As someone tasked to take care of a senior member of your family, you should know the senior citizen discount in the Philippines and other privileges the elderly can avail of. Equipping yourself with the right information will enable you not just to provide your senior relatives with proper care but also help them assert their rights under the law.
Additionally, you can get insights to prepare you for the future when you reach your golden years. So, while you’re still young and able, start familiarizing yourself with these senior citizen privileges.
What is the Senior Citizen Age in the Philippines?
The senior citizen age in the Philippines is 60 years old and above. This is based on the Republic Act 9994, commonly known as the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010.
Under R.A. 9994, all Filipino residents 60 years or older are automatically entitled to benefits and privileges, as granted by law. This also extends to elderly dual citizens who have resided in the Philippines for at least six months.
What are the Benefits for Senior Citizens in the Philippines?
Under the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010, elderly Filipinos get to enjoy these benefits in the Philippines:
- 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
Medical Benefits for Senior Citizens
R.A. 9994 was instrumental in giving PhilHealth benefits to senior citizens. Moreover, Republic Act No. 10645 was enacted in 2014 to provide mandatory PhilHealth coverage for anyone above 60 years old. This coverage is provided in addition to the 20% discount and VAT exemption every senior citizen is entitled to.
For example, if your elderly loved one requires confinement in a private hospital, the 20% discount and VAT exemption are deducted first from the medical bill before the PhilHealth benefit is deducted.
Meanwhile, the No Balance Billing Policy applies in public hospitals, meaning, senior patients no longer need to pay for their hospital bills.
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.
For additional health coverage for your elderly loved ones, you can check out the best health cards for senior citizens in the Philippines. HMOs can help cover illnesses or other medical expenses that are not part of your PhilHealth plan.
COVID-19 Vaccination Benefits for Senior Citizens
The benefits for senior citizens in the Philippines also extend to COVID-related expenses. If your loved one gets hospitalized for testing positive, they get a 20% discount on the following hospital fees and charges:
- Immunization fees
- Laboratory examination fees
- Stewards/food handler fees
- Permit to transport fees
- Fees for certification of documents
In terms of preventive measures, the Department of Health (DOH) prioritizes giving free COVID-19 vaccines to senior citizens since they are more at risk of getting complications from the deadly virus. Local governments were also known to prioritize the welfare of seniors back when lockdowns were in place throughout the country. They extended help through various financial assistance, feeding programs, and other relief efforts.
If you want to avail of COVID testing kits for your elderly loved ones, you can buy swab or saliva tests from the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) and avail of a special discount for senior citizens and persons with disabilities (PWDs). You can do this online by following the instructions on the PRC website.
Cash Benefits for Senior Citizens
Senior citizens in the Philippines also get cash benefits from the government. Under Republic Act No. 10868, also known as the Centenarians Act of 2016, senior citizens who reach 100 years old get to receive a cash incentive of ₱100,000. This program continued even during the pandemic, providing additional financial aid to senior citizens nationwide.
Aside from the centenarian incentive, indigent senior citizens or elderly people below the poverty line can also receive a monthly allowance of ₱500. This is a subsidy program by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to help fund the medical and daily needs of senior citizens with little to no stable source of income.
Moreover, there are also senior citizen benefits in Metro Manila specific to each city. For example, elderly residents of Makati and Taguig receive annual cash gifts ranging from ₱3,000 to ₱5,000, depending on the age bracket. They also get other perks like free maintenance medicines and free medical supplies such as prescription glasses and wheelchairs, among others.
Commuting Benefits for Senior Citizens
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.
Queueing Benefits for Senior Citizens
In the Philippines, senior citizen benefits extend to queueing priority. The elderly 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 exercising the privileges they have under the law. Be more considerate to elderly people, even those you’re not related to.
Death Benefits for Senior Citizens
While death can be a tough subject to handle, it’s good to know that death expenses are part of the benefits for senior citizens in the Philippines.
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.
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 ₱20,000 to ₱40,000, depending on the late member’s number of paid contributions and average monthly salary credit.
What is the Senior Citizen Discount in the Philippines?
Under R.A. 9994, elderly Filipinos aged 60 and above are entitled to a 20% 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.
- 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.
Medical Expenses Discount
One good thing about senior citizen health benefits is how pharmacies, hospitals, and medical institutions go to great lengths to grant the 20% senior citizen discount in the Philippines. Seniors can get the healthcare they deserve without breaking the bank, as long as you present the requirements when purchasing for them.
The discount and the VAT exemption apply to most of the medical needs of senior citizens. You can save 20% when buying generic and branded medicines, eyeglasses, hearing aids, wheelchairs, and dentures, as well as medical procedures, examinations, and other medical expenses. This applies to both in-store and online transactions.
How to Avail of the Senior Citizen Discount in the Philippines on Medical Expenses
When buying medicines and other elderly care items from pharmacies, present your elder’s senior citizen ID, Office of the Senior Citizen Affairs (OSCA) purchase booklet, and prescription slips. When buying online, prepare a screenshot of the necessary documents and upload them to the merchant’s platform.
When availing of medical procedures from clinics and hospitals, present your elder’s senior citizen ID, OSCA purchase booklet, and other relevant medical documents when paying for your outstanding bill.
Utility Bills Discount
You can also avail of senior citizen discounts on utility bills, provided the accounts are registered under the name of your elderly loved one. As long as the household is not consuming more than 100 kWh of electricity and 30 cubic meters of water, you can avail of a 5% discount on your electric and water bills.
How to Avail of the Senior Citizen Discount on Utility Bills
When paying for your bills at the nearest payment center, present your elder’s senior citizen ID, the utility bill under your elder’s name, and any proof of address.
Discount on Groceries
While a 20% discount on groceries isn’t part of the senior citizen discount in the Philippines, elderly Filipinos can still avail of a special 5% without VAT exemption on selected grocery items. This benefit is a joint effort by DSWD and the Department of Agriculture (DOA) enacted through Joint Administrative Order No. 10-02, s. 2010.
Seniors who buy groceries worth up to ₱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
How to Avail of a Grocery Discount for Senior Citizens
To get the 5% senior citizen discount on groceries, seniors must bring their OSCA-issued senior citizen ID and OSCA purchase booklet when they shop in supermarkets, convenience stores, and drug stores. If you’re the one doing the shopping, present your elder’s senior citizen ID, OSCA booklet, and an authorization letter to avail of the 5% discount.
The discount covers both in-store and online purchases. 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 like Grab to provide the mandatory 20% discount to their senior customers.
How to Avail of a GrabCar Ride Discount
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 Dining Transactions
Taking your parents or grandparents out for lunch or dinner? Remember that seniors enjoy a 20% discount on restaurants and major fast food chains in the Philippines such as Jollibee, McDonald’s, Chowking, KFC, Greenwich, and Mang Inasal. They can also avail of the senior citizen discount in the Philippines on delivery apps like GrabFood and Foodpanda, among others.
How to Avail of a Restaurant Discount
To claim this discount in-store, just present your elderly’s senior citizen ID when making your order or paying your bill. For online deliveries, just mention the senior citizen’s name and senior citizen number, and present the ID once your food arrives.
Domestic Flights Discount
Planning a domestic trip with your senior citizen family members? When you're accomplishing your Cebu Pacific travel requirements, for example, remember that you can avail of the 20% senior citizen discount and VAT exemption for online bookings.
AirAsia, Cebu Pacific, and Philippine Airlines have been implementing the senior citizen discount on their websites and mobile apps since September 2017. Previously, the discount was applied only to over-the-counter purchases at physical airline ticketing offices.
How to Avail of a Domestic Flight Discount
The 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 the Senior Citizen Discount in the Philippines
Senior citizens in the Philippines are exempted from paying Value Added Tax (VAT). To get your VAT computation, divide the selling price by the VAT rate.
Below is a sample computation:
Product price: ₱500
VAT rate: 12%
Formula: Selling Price ÷ VAT Rate = VAT Exempt Sales
Total: ₱500 ÷ 1.12 = ₱446.43
Senior citizens are entitled to a 20% discount upon purchase of goods and services. To compute the discount, deduct the percentage by multiplying the VAT-exempt sales by 20%.
Formula: VAT Exempt Sales x 20% = Senior Citizen Discount
Total: ₱446.43 x 0.20 = ₱89.29
To identify the billable amount, subtract the VAT-exempt sales by the senior citizen discount.
Formula: VAT Exempt Sales – Senior Citizen Discount = Billable Amount
Total: ₱446.43 – ₱89.29 = ₱357.14
FAQs on Senior Citizen Discount in the Philippines
The senior citizen discount in the Philippines can be overwhelming 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 relevant answers to the common questions about the special perks for senior citizens.
1. What is a senior citizen OSCA 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 ID, elderly customers may show any of the following valid IDs:
- SSS ID or UMID card
- GSIS ID
- Driver’s license
- PRC ID
- Voter’s ID
- Postal ID
It’s illegal for businesses to honor only the senior citizen OSCA ID and refuse to give discounts when senior customers present another valid ID. In such a situation, seniors have the right to demand their government-mandated discount.
2. Does the Senior Citizen Law apply everywhere in the Philippines?
Yes. 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.
3. If a senior citizen dines in a restaurant with a non-senior citizen, how is the senior citizen discount computed?
For dine-in orders, the 20% discount will apply only to the share of the senior citizen. Restaurants and food chains usually divide the cost of the shared meal by the number of diners at the table and apply the discount to the share of the senior citizen/s present.
4. Should the senior citizen be present when presenting the OSCA ID to avail of the discount?
Ideally, your senior relative should be the one presenting the OSCA ID to the establishment. But as a relative or authorized individual, you can avail of the discount for them as long as you have the elder’s senior citizen ID and other required documents.
5. Can a non-senior-citizen companion transact and avail of a discount on behalf of a senior citizen?
If your parents or grandparents are bedridden or too weak to buy their food and medicine, 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
6. Can senior citizens get a regular discount on top of the government-mandated 20% discount?
The Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010 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 PWDs. They’re entitled to either the senior citizen discount or the PWD discount, but not both.
If there’s one thing to love about being a Filipino citizen, it’s the sheer number of benefits for the elderly in the Philippines. It’s a testament to how we value and cherish the older members of our family and community. Show your love and care to your parents, grandparents, and other relatives by making sure they get their senior citizen discount in the Philippines and other benefits under the law.
-  DOLE strengthens program for senior citizens, PWDs (The Philippine Star, 2022)
-  Republic Act No. 9994 (Official Gazette of the Philippines)
-  Republic Act No. 10645 (Official Gazette)
-  PhilHealth Senior Citizen Qualifications
-  Senior Citizen’s Discount - COVID (DOH Bureau of Quarantine)
-  Senior Citizen / PWD Coupon Discount (Philippine Red Cross)
-  Republic Act No. 10868 (Official Gazette)
-  TWG oks measures to give senior citizens cash gifts amid COVID-19 (House of Representatives press release, 2020)
-  Social Pension Program For Indigent Senior Citizen (DSWD - CAR)
-  Joint DTI-DA Administrative Order No. 10-02, s. 2010 (DTI)