Government of India has earmarked special benefits and concessions for Senior Citizens. Here is a brief compilation of same for your ready reference :
1. Court cases involving senior citizens
As per advise of Supreme Court to Chief Justices of all High Courts, cases involving older persons/ senior citizens should be expeditiously disposed. Government of India Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment (SD Section), New Delhi, F. No. 20-76/99-SD dated 03.11.1999 is cited as reference.
2. Health Care
(a) There is provision for separate queues for senior citizens at hospitals and health care centres when they visit for any health related concerns or clinical examinations. For instance, in several Central Government Hospitals in Delhi, namely, Safdarjung, Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital and Lady Hardinge Medical College & associated Hospitals, separate registration counters are marked for senior citizens in OPDs.
(b) Online OPD Registration is available in Delhi to enable patients to register from the comforts of their home, saving valuable time, and then proceed directly to the selected speciality OPD on same day.
(c) Wheelchairs and trolleys are available for Senior citizens in OPDs of major hospitals, where they are attended on a priority basis.
(d) Delhi Government runs special clinics for Senior Citizens in most of its hospitals. In addition Government of NCT of Delhi provides a three tier healthcare facility comprising of Mohalla Clinics, Polyclinics and Super speciality Hospitals with separate clinics for Senior Citizens therein.
(e) AIIMS in Delhi has a National Centre for Ageing, which opened in 2018. The centre has 200 wards and specialised centres of excellence for geriatric care for the elderly and provides multi-speciality healthcare.
(f) There is a weekly Geriatric OPD in AIIMS, Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi. The Geriatric OPD started from 28.07.2019 at Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi.
As in Delhi, likewise in other states of India it is expected that such services would be available for Senior Citizens in healthcare facilities. If not, then please raise your voice asking the local government, autonomous institutions, NGOs, health workers including hospitals and doctors to consider such services as part of Human Rights initiatives for senior citizens.
3. Finance & Taxation
You may refer to Indian Income Tax Department for more information and clarification apart from what is shared on this page.
(a) Higher exemption limit for Senior Citizens – current slabs of Income Tax: As per available information the threshold income for senior citizens to pay income tax stands at Rs. 3 lakh per annum for senior citizens below 80 years age. For senior citizens who are 80 years and above the threshold income is Rs. 5 lakh per annum.
(b) Benefit under Section 80C of Income Tax Act, 1961 is available for Senior Citizens on investments made under 5-Year Post Office Time Deposits Account and Senior Citizens Savings Scheme.
(c) Benefit under Section 80D – Health Insurance Premium/ Medical Expenditure: Payment made towards health insurance premium by a senior citizen is allowed as deduction under Section 80D of Income Tax Act 1961. Tax deduction of Rs. 50,000 is permissible for senior citizens. Where health insurance is not availed but medical expenditure is incurred then too the maximum deduction allowed is Rs. 50,000.
Provided the said amount as medical expenses is not paid by cash and is paid through other modes. Preventive health check-ups though are allowed to be paid by cash. Children of senior citizens who pay for medical expenses of their parents and immediate family (senior citizens) can claim an additional deduction upto Rs.50,000 in income tax for doing so. If health insurance premium is paid then tax benefit on medical expenditure is not allowed.
(d) Benefit under Section 80 DDB – Medical Expenditure on specified diseases: Payment made towards medical expenditure on treatment of specified diseases is tax exempt upto Rs. 1,00,000 (Rupees One Lakh only) for senior citizens. The treatment can be for oneself or dependants. Such deduction shall be allowed only if the assessee obtains prescription for such medical treatment from a neurologist, an oncologist, a urologist, a haematologist, an immunologist or such other specialist, as may be prescribed.
Section 11DD of Income Tax Act specifies the list of diseases and ailments for which benefit under Section 80DDB can be claimed. Section 11DD is reproduced here for ready reference:
[Specified diseases and ailments for the purpose of deduction under section 80DDB.
11DD . (1) For the purposes of section 80DDB, the following shall be the eligible diseases or ailments :
(i) Neurological Diseases where the disability level has been certified to be of 40% and above,—
(b) Dystonia Musculorum Deformans;
(c) Motor Neuron Disease;
(h) Parkinsons Disease;
(ii) Malignant Cancers;
(iii) Full Blown Acquired Immuno-Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS);
(iv) Chronic Renal failure;
(v) Hematological disorders :
[ (2) The prescription in respect of the diseases or ailments specified in sub-rule (1) shall be issued by the following specialists:—
(a) for diseases or ailments mentioned in clause (i) of sub-rule (1) – a Neurologist having a Doctorate of Medicine (D.M.) degree in Neurology or any equivalent degree, which is recognised by the Medical Council of India;
(b) for diseases or ailments mentioned in clause (ii) of sub-rule (1) – an Oncologist having a Doctorate of Medicine (D.M.) degree in Oncology or any equivalent degree which is recognised by the Medical Council of India;
(c) for diseases or ailments mentioned in clause (iii) of sub-rule (1) – any specialist having a post-graduate degree in General or Internal Medicine, or any equivalent degree which is recognised by the Medical Council of India;
(d) for diseases or ailments mentioned in clause (iv) of sub-rule (1) – a Nephrologist having a Doctorate of Medicine (D.M.) degree in Nehprology or a Urologist having a Master of Chirurgiae (M.Ch.) degree in Urology or any equivalent degree, which is recognised by the Medical Council of India;
(e) for diseases or ailments mentioned in clause (v) of sub-rule (1) – a specialist having a Doctorate of Medicine (D.M.) degree in Hematology or any equivalent degree, which is recognised by the Medical Council of India :
Provided that where in respect of any diseases or ailments specified in sub-rule (1), the patient is receiving the treatment in a Government hospital, the prescription may be issued by any specialist working full-time in that hospital and having a post-graduate degree in General or Internal Medicine or any equivalent degree, which is recognised by the Medical Council of India.]
[ (3) The prescription referred to in sub-rule (2) shall contain the name and age of the patient, name of the disease or ailment along with the name, address, registration number and the qualification of the specialist issuing the prescription:
Provided that where the patient is receiving the treatment in a Government hospital, such prescription shall also contain the name and address of the Government hospital.]
(e) Section 80 TTB – Interest earned from Deposits: With effect from 1st April 2018, a deduction upto Rs.50,000 in a year is available for Senior Citizens under Section 80 TTB of Income Tax Act, 1961. Such deduction can be availed on Interest income from Savings Account and Fixed Deposits, which could either be with Banks, Post Offices or even Co-operative Banks.
(f) Higher TDS Limit – Form 15H: The TDS threshold for interest earned on Bank deposits and Post Office deposits including recurring deposits is Rs. 50,000 now for Senior Citizens. Which means there is no Tax Deduction at Source for Senior Citizens if the interest earned is upto Rs.50,000 in a year. In cases where interest income exceeds the limit the Senior Citizen can furnish Form 15H to the bank or post office. Form 15H is a declaration under Section 197A (1c) of Income Tax Act, which can be made by individuals who are 60 years and above claiming certain receipts without tax deduction.
(a) Senior Citizens Savings Scheme is another popular investment option for Senior Citizens. SCSS accounts can be opened with any Public Sector Bank as State Bank of India or in any of the nearest Post Offices. SCSS offers a higher rate of interest to Senior Citizens than any other deposit scheme as of now. Current rate of interest is 8.6% as evident from the website of SBI (July 2019 – September 2019).
(b) Specific provisions made by State Bank of India for Senior Citizens :
i) Dedicated Counters/Preference to Senior Citizens, Differently Abled Persons: Provision of dedicated counters (wherever required) /preference to Senior Citizens and Differently Abled Persons.
ii) Ease of submitting Life Certificate: Life certificate can be submitted at any branch in addition to submission through Jeevan Praman. It can be submitted on -line also
iii) Cheque Book Facility: 25 cheque leaves issued free of charge to Senior Citizens and Differently Abled persons.
iv) Automatic conversion of status of accounts: Conversion of the accounts automatically to Senior Citizen category when the customer attains the age of 60.
v) Ease of filing Form 15G/H: Form 15G/H can be submitted at any branch and can also be submitted online.
vi) Door step Banking: Services to Senior Citizens above the age of 70 years and Differently Abled Persons.
Please check with any of your nearest Public and Private sector Bank as well as the nearest Post Office on what special facilities exist for Senior Citizens and Pensioners.
5. RTI Act (Right to Information Act)
Second appeals filed by senior citizens and differently abled persons under the Right to Information Act (RTI) are taken on a high priority basis, according to a directive of the Central Information Commission (CIC).
For, senior citizens and physically challenged if appeals are already pending with the CIC/SCIC, they should write to the CIC/SCIC about their status.
6. Travel by Indian Railways
(a) Travel by Indian Railways is 40% cheaper for male citizens aged 60 years or above, while women aged 58 years or above are entitled to 50% concession in fare. Kindly note that while travelling all Senior Citizens need to carry proof of their Date of Birth / Age with a Photo ID Card.
(b) There are separate Counters / Queues for Senior Citizens at all Railway Stations for purchase, booking or cancellation of tickets.
(c) Lower Berths: In trains having reserved accommodation, a combined quota of two lower berths per coach has been earmarked in Sleeper, AC 3 tier and AC 2 tier classes for Senior Citizens, Female passenger who is 45 years of age and above and Pregnant women.
(d) In the Computerized Passenger Reservation System (PRS), there is a provision to allot lower berths automatically to male passengers of 60 years and above and female passengers of 45 years and above subject to the availability of lower berths at the time of booking of tickets.
(e) After departure of the train, if there are vacant lower berths available in the train, and if any senior citizen who has been allotted upper/middle berth, approaches for allotment of vacant lower berths, the Conductor/Train Ticket Examiner (TTE) has been authorized to allot the vacant lower berth to them after making necessary entries in the chart.
(f) Special arrangements are available for those who find it difficult to walk or move on their own. Wheel Chairs are available at all major junctions, District Headquarters and other important Railway stations for the convenience of Senior citizens and also for those who are in need.
(g) Indian Railways have recently introduced specially designed coaches which have provisions for hand rails and specially designed toilets for handicapped persons. These coaches also have space for wheel chairs.
7. Travel by Airlines
(a) Senior Citizens who have attained the age of 60 years on the date of commencement of journey are entitled to a concession of 50% of Basic fare on select booking classes in Economy cabin of Air India flights on any sector within India.
(b) Other Airlines operating in India also offer discounts to senior citizens. It is advisable to check with them before you plan your travel.
8. Travel by Metro Rail
Delhi Metro for instance has special provisions for Senior Citizens and Differently abled persons. Similar services are expected in other states where Metro services have already begun or are in the process of commencing.
9. Travel by Roadways (state transport)
(a) Most State Governments in India operate Bus services through a State Road Transport Corporation. State Road Transport Undertakings have made provision for senior citizens for reservation of 2 seats in the front row of all buses.
(b) Some state governments also give concessions (in fare) to senior citizens, while some also have specially modelled buses for the elderlies.
10. Legal Rights for Protection and Maintenance
(a) In 2007 Government enacted the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007. This Law aims to protect the Rights of Older persons who are unable to maintain themselves or who are harassed and ill-treated by those who are supposed to take care of them i.e, children or relatives on whom they are dependant. This law creates provisions for maintenance, protection and security of elders.
(b) Senior citizens and Parents can approach the Maintenance Tribunals in their district for lodging any complaint or grievance related to their care and maintenance. You can also refer to Rules which govern the procedural aspects of Senior Citizens Act. Cited here are Rules governing the said law in Delhi. Similarly each State in India would have it’s own set of Rules which the state government must have notified in state gazette.
11. Old Age Homes and Recreation Centres for Senior Citizens
(a) Senior Citizens who are unable to maintain themselves and who neither have resources nor relatives to take care of them can avail the services of Old Age Homes in their district.
(b) Social interactions are vital for healthy living. And so grows the importance of Recreation Centres where Senior Citizens can spend quality time with other older persons or engage in recreational activities as per their interest.
- The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007
- Maintenance Tribunals for Parents and Senior Citizens in Delhi
- Fatal Elder Abuse in India
- Sec 125 CrPC & Welfare of Senior Citizens Act
- Old Age Homes in India