12: Benefits of senior citizen card in India

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The senior citizen card in India basically acts as a government-approved proof of age. The benefits of having this card handy are manifold. Seniors are entitled to lower taxes post the age of 60 and 80. They can get higher returns on their investments and avail of medical insurance benefits.

They can avail of massive discounts on traveling by air, rail or bus. They can also leverage this card to apply for BSNL/MTNL connections, get bank work done, apply for a passport and several other purposes.​

Many facilities and concessions for senior citizens are available in India. We have taken an effort to list them down.

  1. Concession or senior citizens on Income tax
    • For resident senior citizens who have attained the age of 60 years, income up to Rs 3,00,000 is non-taxable. (For normal person non-taxable income limit is Rs 2,50,000)
    • For resident super senior citizens who have attained the age of 80 years, income up to Rs 5,00,000 is non-taxable.
  2. Concession for senior citizens on professional tax
    • For resident senior citizens who have attained the age of 65 years are exempt from paying professional tax in some states.
  3. Senior Citizen Saving Scheme for senior citizens
    • Senior citizen saving scheme is available for senior citizens which offers interest @8.6% per annum.
    • Any senior citizens who have attained the age of 60 years may open the account.
    • Any senior citizens who have attained the age of 55 years or more, who have retired on superannuation or under VRS can also open an account. Any senior citizens who have attained the age of 55 years or more but less than 60 years, who has retired on superannuation or under VRS can also open account subject to the condition that the account is opened within one month of receipt of retirement benefits and therefore the amount shouldn’t exceed the number of retirement benefits.
  4. Concession for senior citizens on Air travel
    Below listed airlines offer a discount on air travel in India.
    • Air India: Senior citizens with Indian citizenship and permanently residing in India are eligible for a 50% discount on basic fare of normal economy fare. The discount is valid for domestic travel within India. A person should have attained the age of 63 years on the date of commencement of the journey to be classified as a senior citizen.
    • Jet Airways: Senior citizen both of Indian and foreign origin are eligible for a 50% discount on the basic fare of normal economy fare or premier fare. The discount is valid for domestic travel within India. A person should have attained the age of 65 years on the date of commencement of the journey to be classified as a senior citizen. The discount is valid only for tickets purchased in India.

      Indian Airlines and Jet airways also issue senior citizen cards to avail concession on air flights.

  5. Concession for senior citizens in Rail travel
    • Male and feminine senior citizens are eligible for 40% and 50% discount respectively. Male senior citizens and female senior citizens should have attained the age of 60 and 58 years respectively to qualify for a discount. Discount is out there in fare for all classes of Mail/Express/Rajdhani/Shatabdi/Jan Shatabdi/ Duranto trains. A discount is not available for tatkal booking.
    • Computerized passenger reservation system automatically allots lower berth to senior citizens subject to availability at the time of booking of ticket.
    • Six lower berths per coach in Sleeper class and three lower berths per coach in 3AC and 2AC classes are reserved for senior citizens, pregnant women and feminine passengers above the age of 45.
    • A separate counter is available for senior citizens.
  6. Concession for senior citizens in Bus travel for senior citizens
    Some municipal corporations and state governments give concessions to senior citizens on bus fare. Certain bus seats are also reserved for senior citizens.
  7. Concession/facilities for senior citizens at banks
    • Banks have special accounts for senior citizens with facilities like an issue of senior citizen card, priority service at bank branch’s, discount at the health care center’s, etc.
    • Senior citizens get a 0.5% higher interest rate on fixed deposits than other individuals.
    • These faculties are available for citizens who have attained the age of 60 years. Eligibility criteria are 57 years at some banks.
  8. Concession/facilities for senior citizens on telephone service
    • BSNL: Senior citizens who have attained the age of 65 are eligible for registration of telephone on priority under the Non-OYT Special category and registration charges are also waived off.
    • MTNL: Senior citizen who has attained the age of 65 are eligible for 25% concession on installation charges and monthly service charges for landlines connections under MTNL’s Plan-250
  9. Priority in court hearings for senior citizens
    Senior citizens who have attained the age of 60 years can write to the court for the preferential hearing of their cases.
  10. Passport application
    Senior Citizens are issued a passport on a post police verification basis if they submit along with their application form a copy of their child’s passport who is staying abroad. The child whose passport is being submitted should above 18 years of age and passport copy bear his/her parent’s name.
  11. Health insurance for senior citizens
    As per IRDA rules, individuals are allowed to buy health insurance up to the age of 65. Any refusal of a proposal for the health insurance of a senior citizen should be in writing with reasons. The policy can be refused only on grounds of fraud, moral hazard or misrepresentation. National insurance has a “Varishta Mediclaim policy”, which has an entry age of 60-80 years and is renewable up to the age of 80 years. Max sum insured offered is Rs 1,00,000 for hospitalization and Rs 2,00,000 for critical illness.

    The government of India has launched the top-up scheme of “Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojna (RSBY)” for senior citizens belonging to the BPL category and is aged above 60 years. This scheme will provide the health coverage of Rs. 30,000/- per annum per senior citizen over and above RSBY entitlement.

  12. Varishtha Pension Bima Yojana 2017
    Varishtha Pension Bima Yojana 2017 will provide an assured pension to senior citizens based on a guaranteed rate of return of 8 percent for 10 years. Maximum 7.5 Lac can be invested in this scheme and one can get pension on a monthly/quarterly/half-yearly or annual basis. This scheme will be offered by LIC.