Despite the weakened bodily abilities and the pains that come with growing old, being a senior citizen in the Philippines still has its perks. Thanks to the availability of the senior citizen ID – one of the many provisions created by Philippine laws – that enable them to enjoy benefits that only become available after they hit their 60s.
In this article, we will walk you through the steps on how to apply for a Senior Citizen ID in the Philippines, so you may be able to avail all the benefits and perks associated with it when you go out and rejoin society.
Let’s take a look at the laws that brought the senior citizen ID to life, before we go on and discuss how to acquire one. That way, you will understand your rights as a senior citizen, along with the perks that you are entitled to and the limitations associated with it.
Senior Citizens in the Philippines
In the Philippines, certain laws were enacted to make life better for the seniors in the Philippines.
Let’s take a look at some of them:
Republic Act No. 7432
Known as “An Act to Maximize the Contribution of Senior Citizens to Nation Building, Grant Benefits and Special Privileges and for Other Purposes,” this law enabled the creation of the Office of Senior Citizen Affairs (OSCA) in every city and municipality.
The law outlined the government services and senior privileges for the elderlies. On top of that, it encouraged the elderlies to contribute their skills and participate in society. It also detailed some benefits, like offering a 20% discount on selected services from all establishments related to public transport services, hotels, similar lodging establishments, restaurants, recreation centers, and purchase of medicine nationwide.
Republic Act No. 9257
Also known as the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2003, RA 9275 extended the benefits that those who are over 60 years old enjoy. Thanks to this law, senior citizens now enjoy educational assistance, express lanes, and even utility discounts for institutions looking after them.
This law also created additional privileges related to employment, free skills training and education, among others. Under this law, the Department of Health (DoH) also issued an Administrative Order guiding drug stores, hospitals, and other similar medical establishments regarding health care for senior citizens.
Republic Act No. 9994
In 2010, the benefits of senior citizens were further increased under the Republic Act No. 9994 or the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010. Among the expanded benefits and privileges include the expansion of the list of goods and services entitled to the 20% discount on regular prices. For promotional sales, seniors may choose the bigger discount of either the promotional discount or the 20% discount. RA 9994 also made the senior’s exemption from the 12% VAT possible. Included in the exemption are medical, domestic transportation, accommodation, recreational, admission, and funeral and burial services. The law also expanded the elderlies’ privileges to include income tax and training fee exemptions, educational privileges, medical and dental services, and special discounts, among others.
However, the world is not created equal. That said, these benefits are not available for everyone in their 60s or older until they can present a certain requirement: the Senior Citizen ID.
What is a Senior Citizen ID?
A Senior Citizen’s ID Card is one of the many valid government-issued IDs used in the Philippines. It is applied for and issued at the Office of Senior Citizen Affairs (OSCA). Not everyone is eligible to get a Senior Citizen’s ID Card, unless of course, you meet the minimum eligibility requirement for one. It is a pretty useful ID as well, since the bearers of this ID not only have in their hand an ID acceptable to both private and government institutions, but also because under the Republic Act No. 9994 and Republic Act No. 10645, this card entitles the owner to avail specific benefits, privileges and government assistance.
What are the benefits of having a Senior Citizen ID?
Having a senior citizen ID not only offers the individual a non-expiring identification document. The ID alone works as a passport to avail the following benefits:
- Medicine and drug purchases for influenza and pneumococcal vaccines and other essential medical supplies, accessories and equipment as determined by the Department of Health (DoH);
- Medical supplies, accessories and equipment
- Medical and dental services
- Professional fees of attending physician
- Professional fees of licensed health workers providing home health care services as endorsed by private hospitals or employed through home health care employment agencies;
- Air and Sea transport including domestic air transport and sea shipping vessels based on actual fare and advanced booking;
- Land: LRT, MRT, PNR, buses, jeepneys, taxi and shuttle services
- Hotels, restaurants, recreational facilities, places of leisure
- Hotels, restaurants, theaters, cinemas, concert halls, circuses, leisure and amusement parks, carnivals and other similar places of culture and leisure
- Fees, charges and rental for sports facilities and equipment
- Funeral and burial expenses include casket or urn, embalming, cremation cost, and other services.
Grant a minimum of 5% discount relative to the monthly use of water and electricity, provided that the meter is registered under the name of the senior citizen residing therein and does not exceed 100 kWh and 30 m³a month;
- Exemption from payment of individual income tax of those who are considered to be minimum wage earners.
Training fee exemption
- Training fees for socio-economic programs conducted by private and government agencies are subject to the guidelines issued by DTI, DOLE, DA, TESDA and DOST-TRC.
- Free medical and dental services, diagnostic and laboratory services but not limited to x-rays, computerized tomography scans and blood tests in all government facilities
- Free vaccinations against flu and pneumococcal diseases for indigent senior citizens
- Indigent senior citizens shall be entitled to a monthly stipend amounting to P500 to augment daily subsistence and other medical needs.
- Mandatory PhilHealth coverage
- All senior citizens are covered by the national health insurance program of PhilHealth.
To check on what being covered by PhilHealth entails, you may read this article on the PhilHealth Benefits as an OFW.
Social safety nets
- The social safety assistance shall include, but not be limited to, food, medicines, and financial assistance for house repair to cushion effects of economic, disaster and calamity shocks.
Death benefit assistance
- Assistance of a minimum of P2,000.00 shall be given to the nearest surviving relative who took care of the deceased senior citizen.
- Express lanes shall be provided in all private, banking, commercial and government establishments; priority shall be given in their absence.
- Assistance shall be granted to senior citizens to pursue education through provision of scholarships, grants, financial aids, subsidies and other incentives.
Benefits and privileges for retirees
- Continuance of the same benefits and privileges by GSIS, SSS and PAG-IBIG as enjoyed by those in active service.
Privileges on special discounts in special programs
- In order to avail of these benefits, the senior citizen or his/her authorized representative shall present a valid and original Senior Citizens’ Identification Card.
THINGS TO REMEMBER
Here are some things to take note on purchases:
Credit Card Payments
- 20% discount and VAT exemption shall also apply to purchase of goods and services paying through credit cards.
No double discounts
- In cases where the senior citizen is also a person with disability (PWD), the senior citizen can only use either his/her senior citizen ID or PWD ID to avail of a 20% discount.
- Establishments may claim the discounts as tax deductions based on the cost of goods sold or services rendered.
How to apply for a Senior Citizen ID?
If these benefits convince you that you or your elderly relatives need to secure a Senior Citizen ID card if only for the benefits it carries with it, then you’ll want to find out how.
In this guide, we listed the proper procedures along with all the requirements that you will need to prepare to go about securing one from the OSCA.
Before you can apply for this ID, you must first qualify for it. To qualify, you must meet the following eligibility criteria:
- Sixty (60) years old or over
- A citizen of the Philippines
- Resident of the city or municipality where you are applying for at least six (6) months prior to your application
Once you have ensured that you are indeed qualified for a senior citizen ID, you must also prepare the following documents:
- Duly accomplished application form issued by the Office of the Senior Citizens Affairs (OSCA).
- Recent 1″ x 1″ ID photograph
- Birth certificate or any public document indicating the applicant’s age and Filipino citizenship.
- Valid ID that can be presented as proof of residency and/or two (2) proofs of billing or mails under the applicant’s name.
Some of the valid IDs accepted by the OSCA include:
- Commission on Elections (COMELEC) Voter’s ID;
- Driver’s License;
- NBI Clearance;
- Police Clearance;
- Old residence certificate;
- Postal ID;
- Any combination of identification documents confirming your name, date of birth and present address.
If you need a complete list of other valid IDs that you can use, you may check our previous article on Complete List of Valid Philippine IDs You Need to Have as a Filipino.
Note that the local OSCA via the city or municipal Social Welfare District Office (CSWDO/MSWDO) may ask for other documents, in the event that you are unable to provide some of the required documents.
The application forms are typically available at your local Office of Senior Citizens Affair (OSCA) or at the barangay hall. However, some government offices also made the form available for download through their website. You can simply do a quick search online to see where it is available for you to download and fill out before you drop by the CSWDO or MSWDO near you.
Applying for a Senior Citizen ID
- Applications for Senior Citizens IDs are often processed in person, and is especially encouraged to be processed in person when applied for the first time.
The applicant or his/her representative are required to submit an application at their local Office of the Senior Citizen Affairs (OSCA) which is usually located within the city hall or municipal hall. Applications may also be submitted at the local barangay.
- Ask your local OSCA or barangay official for an application form. Some government offices made the form available for download through their website. You can also do a quick search online to see if you can download and complete the application form ahead of your visit.
- The applicant or his/her authorized representative will need to provide the following information as well:
- Complete name, age, sex, civil status,
- Complete address
- Date of birth and place of birth
- Details of your spouse and children, if any
- Once the form is accomplished, submit the completed form to OSCA/ barangay.
- Make sure to submit a copy of the applicant’s birth certificate or any public document that can prove the age and Filipino citizenship. The applicant will also need to present a valid ID as proof of residency and /or two (2) proofs of billing or mails under the applicant’s name.
Note that the OSCA may also ask for other documents in case some of the documents they require are not available.
The senior Citizen ID can also be applied for online, depending on the municipality or city where the applicant resides. Just visit https://www.oscaportal.com/registration.php or head on to the Senior Citizen ID Application page of your locality to apply.
The senior citizen ID is free for first-time applicants. However, some OSCA offices may charge fees for replacement in the event that the ID is lost.
Processing and Release of ID
The new senior citizen ID may be readily available upon registration with OSCA or at most five (5) working days from the time of application for first time registration or after the application for replacement is filed. The amount of time it takes to process a Senior Citizen ID Card may vary depending upon the municipality or the city where it is being applied for, but you will usually get it on the same day.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. If a senior citizen ID holder forgets their OSCA-issued senior citizen ID card, can he or she still avail the senior discount?
Yes, they can avail of the senior discount provided that they can present any valid government-issued ID that shows their age or birth date and citizenship. Examples of these valid IDs include passport, driver’s license, or UMID, PRC, postal, or voter’s ID. Other valid documents that can serve as proof of identification and establish the fact that the elderly is a citizen of the Philippines and is at least sixty (60) years old may also be accepted.
2. My senior citizen card was issued in the province. Can I still use the same card in Metro Manila?
Yes, the senior citizen ID card, regardless of the place of issue, is valid anywhere throughout the country.
3. Can an elderly foreigner living in the Philippines get a senior citizen card in the Philippines?
No. The law is clear about who can avail the benefits and privileges of the Philippine-issued senior citizen ID card. That said, these benefits and privileges granted under RA 9994 and the other senior citizen-related laws only apply to Filipino citizens who are residents of the Philippines, and who are 60 years old and above.
In 2018, a bill extending the benefits and privileges of the senior citizen card under the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010 to foreigners who are sixty (60) years old and above and residing in the Philippines was introduced by Senator Francis Pangilinan. Unfortunately, the bill stayed in the Senate and did not ripen into a law, hence, foreigners are still excluded from enjoying the senior citizen privileges in the country.
4. I am a Filipino living abroad. Can I avail a senior citizen card in the Philippines?
Just like the foreigners residing in the Philippines, Filipinos residing abroad are also not entitled to the privileges of the Philippine-issued senior citizen ID. The law is clear that only Filipino citizens residing in the Philippines, and who are 60 years old and above can enjoy such privileges.
5. How much is the senior citizen ID card?
The Senior Citizen ID card is free of charge, especially for first-time applicants. Some cities and municipalities, however, may charge a fee when they get a replacement card.
6. I lost my senior citizen ID card. What shall I do?
Lost senior citizen ID cards can be replaced. Just visit the OSCA in the city or municipality where you reside and request for a replacement card. You will need to prepare a few documentary requirements before you go and process the request for replacement.
To do so, just,
- Submit 2 copies of Affidavit of Loss.
- Submit 2 copies of the Police or Barangay Report.
- Pay the ID replacement fee, if required.
7. Is there a penalty for illegal use or abuse of the senior citizen card?
Yes. According to R.A. No. 9994, any person caught violating the provisions of the Senior citizen law shall be penalized by a fine of not less than Fifty Thousand Pesos (P50,000) but not exceeding One Hundred Thousand Pesos (P100,000). They can also get punished with imprisonment for not less than two (2) years but not more than six (6) years for the first violation.
For repeated violations of the law, the punishment will be a fine of not less than One Hundred Thousand Pesos (P100,000) but not exceeding Two Hundred Thousand Pesos (P200,000) and imprisonment for not less than two (2) years but not more than six (6) years.
Anybody who is caught for abusing the senior citizen privileges granted under the law shall be punished by a fine of not less than Fifty Thousand Pesos (P50,000) but not exceeding One Hundred Thousand Pesos (P100,000) and imprisonment of not less than six (6) months.
If a foreigner is found violating any of the provisions of the law, then he or she will be deported immediately after service of sentence without further deportation proceedings.
8. Where can we follow up on a Senior Citizen ID that has not been issued yet, despite having been applied for a long time ago?
If you have already filed for a senior citizen ID at the local OSCA, then you’d want to reach out to them for the ID and the benefits. The ID application only takes five days at most. Chances are, the ID is being kept by the local OSCA, while waiting for the applicant to claim it. You’d also want to stay updated by following the Facebook page of the local OSCA office.
9. I applied for an OSCA ID at my hometown.Now I’m in Metro Manila without a senior citizen ID. What should I do?
You would have to contact the OSCA office in your hometown and request to have your record transferred to the new place of residence. However,you will have to do it by yourself, though you may request some form of assistance at the local OSCA near your new place of residence.
10. Where shall I go if I have a complaint about an establishment violating the 20% discount rule?
Complaints regarding businesses or institutions that are non-compliant or violating the Senior Citizen Act by refusing to give 20% discount on their services or products may be lodged or filed at the local government unit (LGU) OSCA Office where the purchase was made or where the senior citizen resides, whichever is convenient.
Once the complaint is filed, the business permit, permit to operate, franchise, or the like of any person, business establishment, or entity shall be canceled after due notice and hearing.
11. Where can I find information on the OSCA Office Locations & Contact Details?
If you need to reach OSCA, you may contact your local Office of Senior Citizens Affairs (OSCA) at the LGU office or visit the local barangay. If you can’t find the contact information of the local OSCA or can’t get your concerns addressed,, you may also contact them via the CONTACT US chat box available on https://www.oscaportal.com or reach out to them via their Facebook page, https://web.facebook.com/oscaportal/.
If you are in your 60s and you are a Filipino citizen living in the Philippines, you can receive many privileges and benefits as a senior citizen. In order to avail yourself and occasionally, one of your companions, some of these benefits and discounts, it is imperative for you to have a senior citizen ID. It is a fast, easy, and free process, and all you need to do is apply and you’ll have the ID in your hands within the same day.