8 Benefits of the Senior Citizen Card in India

The population of senior citizens in India has been steadily growing due to improved health standards, longevity, and strides taken in the improvement of medical amenities.

Besides getting to enjoy your golden years in and spending time with family, senior citizens in India enjoy a variety of benefits that add to their convenience, ease their financial burdens, and assist them in a considerate, systematic way. The Government of India provides several benefits that can be availed by using an identity card called the Senior Citizen ID card. 

Benefits of Senior Citizen Card: 

1. Tax Benefits

To ease your financial burdens during retirement, tax laws are relaxed for senior citizens in India. The Income Tax Department considers persons aged 60 to be senior citizens and persons aged 80 as super senior citizens.

For resident senior citizens, income of up to Rs. 3 lakh is exempt from tax. Income between Rs. 3-6 lakh is taxed at 10% while income between Rs. 5-10 lakh is taxed at 20%. Income above Rs. 10 lakh is taxed at 30%.

You may also avail of tax deduction under Section 80D of Income Tax Act, 1961 for health insurance premium. Senior citizens suffering from critical illness can receive tax deduction of up to Rs. 50,000.

2. Cheaper Air Travel Tickets

Senior citizens with Indian citizenship can enjoy various discounts on travel fares. For instance, if you are over 63 years of age, you are eligible for 50% discount on economy fare for domestic travel via Air India.

For Jet Airways, senior citizens over 65 can avail of a 50% discount on economy or premier fare for domestic travel within India.

3. Cheaper Railway Tickets

Travelling to see your loved ones or friends in another city? Railway tickets are cheaper for senior citizens in India. 

Male and female senior citizens can avail of 40% and 50% discount respectively for all classes of Mail, Rajdhani, Shatabdi, Jan Shatabdi, Express, and Duronto trains. However, this discount is not available for tatkal bookings.

Separate counters are available for you to use while booking. For those booking online, the passenger reservation system automatically reserves the lower berth for senior citizens.

4. Reduced Telephone Charges

Senior citizens aged 65 and above also have their telephone bills subsidised as well. BSNL customers are eligible for registration of telephone on priority and can have the registration charges waived.

MTNL customers are eligible for 25% discount on installation charges, as well as monthly service charges for landline connections.

5. Banking made simpler

Several banks in India have introduced their own special programs catered towards senior citizens through special accounts, discounts, investment benefits, and more.

Bank branches typically have separate queues for senior citizens for your convenience. Many offer special accounts for senior citizens with facilities such as issuance of senior citizen cards, priority service, better interest rates, and more.

You can also receive higher interest on investments. The Senior Citizen's Saving Scheme offers an interest rate of 8.4% per annum. Senior citizens are also entitled to a 0.5% higher interest rate on fixed deposits than usual rates.

6. Court Hearing Priority

Senior citizens aged 60 and above can write to the court for preferential hearing of your cases to ensure convenience and faster response time.

7. Welfare Schemes

Across all sectors, various welfare schemes have been rolled out for senior citizens in India. Hospitals typically have separate queues and counters for the elderly to assist with registration and clinical examination. 

For senior citizens aged 60 and above, National Insurance offers the Varishta Mediclaim Policy that offers a maximum insurance sum of Rs. 1 lakh for hospitalisation and Rs. 2 lakh for critical insurance. 

LIC's Varishtha Pension Bima Yojana 2017 is available for senior citizens to receive an assured pension based on a guaranteed return rate of 8% for 10 years. Under this scheme, you can invest a maximum of Rs. 7.5 lakh and receive your pension on a monthly, quarterly, half yearly, or yearly basis.

8. Simpler Passport Application

Applying for a passport is often a tedious process. Typically, police verification must be completed before the applicant is issued a passport. However, police verification may be done post-issuance (subject to condition) for senior citizens. 

To do so, you must submit a copy of your son/daughter's passport (aged above 18) who is studying abroad along with their application form. The child's passport copy must have a page bearing the name of their parents.

How to Get Your Senior Citizen Card

To apply for a Senior Citizen ID card in India, simply fill out the application form along with the following documents: Proof of age, proof of name, proof of address, doctor's certificate, 3 recent passport size photographs, and INR 50.

The completed form and documents must be submitted online or in person to an authorized center in your state/city. For more information, please visit the official government website of the state you reside in.