At 60, one is considered a senior citizen in India. Senior citizens are entitled to a multitude of financial benefits. While you can avail some benefits at 60, you also get some added benefits at 65. From time to time, the government offers senior citizens financial benefits to make their life easier.
Here are a few benefits available to senior citizens in India.
1. Interest income:
Senior citizens are entitled to a tax exemption of Rs. 50,000 for income from fixed deposits, post office interest and savings bank accounts.
2. Health insurance premium:
Senior citizens get a tax exemption of Rs. 50,000 on health insurance premium under Section 80D. Exemption on medical expenditure for critical illnesses is Rs. 1 lakh for both senior citizens and super senior citizens.
3. Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana (PMVVY):
The PMVVY scheme was recently extended from March 2018 to March 2020. The investment is capped at Rs. 15 lakh and gives a guaranteed 8 % fixed rate of return for a period of 10 years.
4. Senior Citizens’ Saving Scheme (SCSS):
The SCSS scheme offers an interest rate of 8.3% per annum. Any senior citizen over the age of 60 can open the senior citizen savings scheme. If the senior citizen has retired on superannuation or VRS at 55, they can still opt for the SCSS scheme provided they open an account within a month of receipt of retirement benefits and the amount shouldn’t be more than the number of retirement benefits.
5. Professional tax:
In some states, resident senior citizens aged 65 and above are exempt from professional tax.
6. Income tax:
For senior citizens, an income of up to Rs. 3 lakh is non-taxable. For senior citizens over the age of 80, an income of up to Rs. 5 lakh is non-taxable.
7. Travel concessions:
Senior citizens are entitled to discounts on fares. For instance, senior citizens over the age of 60 can avail a discount of 50% on economy class for domestic travel. Women aged 58 are eligible for 50 % discount and men aged 60 and above are eligible for 40 % discount on rail fare. The concession is on all classes of Mail/Rajdhani/Jan Shatabdi/Shatabdi/Duranto/Express trains. Some state and municipal corporations also give discounts on bus fare to senior citizens. There are seats reserved for senior citizens as well. The passenger reservation system automatically allots lower berths to senior citizens subject to availability during ticket booking.
8. Insurance policies:
For seniors aged 60-80, national insurance offers the ‘Varishta Mediclaim Policy’ where the maximum sum insured is Rs. 1 lakh in case of hospitalization and Rs. 2 lakh for critical illnesses. LIC offers the Varishtha Pension Bima Yojana that provides assured pension for senior citizens.
9. Subsidized phone bills:
Senior citizens over the age of 65 can avail of BSNL connections without registration charges. They are also eligible for registration of telephone on priority. Senior citizens over the age of 65 get 25% concession on monthly service charges and installation charges for landline connections.
10. Miscellaneous benefits:
Senior citizens get separate queues in hospitals for registration and clinical examination. They can also avail of preferential hearing for their cases by writing to the court. Banks have separate queues for senior citizens and offer them senior citizen cards, priority services etc.
Senior citizen benefits are afforded to those over the age of 60 to make sure they aren’t burdened financially during retirement. The benefits also ensure that they don’t end up being dependent on anyone.