Senior citizens are offered various financial and non-financial benefits. Higher basic exemption limits on Income tax, higher deductions in certain provisions of the Income Tax Act, higher interest rates on fixed deposits, cheaper railway and air tickets in the form of concessions and exclusive schemes such as Senior Citizens Savings Scheme and Reverse Mortgage Scheme are some financial benefits available.
With increasing life expectancy, this group of people has been growing over the years. The Government recognizes this and has introduced several initiatives to help senior citizens in the country. However, lack of knowledge and awareness of such initiatives result in many senior citizens not availing such benefits. The benefits are both financial and non-financial in different areas of life. Let’s look at some financial benefits to senior citizens in India:
In addition to a higher basic exemption limit, senior citizens also have benefits in various provisions of the Income Tax Act. Under Sec 80D which is a deduction towards premium paid on health insurance, a senior citizen can claim Rs. 20,000 per year as deduction instead of the normal Rs. 15,000. Similarly, under Sec 80DDB which is deduction towards expenses incurred towards treatment of specified illnesses, the eligible tax deduction is Rs. 60,000 for senior citizens in the place of the normal Rs. 40,000 for others.
Senior citizens can also avoid Tax Deducted at Source (TDS) by submitting Form 15H. This saves the hassle of running around claiming for tax refunds.
Higher interest rates on Fixed Deposits: Almost all banks offer an additional interest rate of 0.5%-0.75% on fixed deposits for senior citizens. The minimum age for this is 60 years.
Cheaper railway tickets: If you are aged above 60 years, you can claim a concession of 40% on basic fare of the train ticket. Further, for a woman, the minimum age to avail benefits of senior citizen fares is 58 years and the discount available is 50% on basic fare.
Special schemes exclusively for senior citizens: The Senior Citizens Savings Scheme is an avenue for investment only for senior citizens (above 60 years while opening the account) which can earn them an interest of 9.2% per annum. The Reverse Mortgage Scheme is another scheme exclusively for senior citizens, wherein if you are above 60 years of age, you can mortgage your property with a bank and earn a regular income, while continuing to remain the owner. To know more about this scheme, please click here.
Discount on air tickets: Similar to railway tickets, senior citizens can claim concessions on air tickets. Air India offers a discount of 50% of basic fare of normal economy class fare on domestic sectors, if you have crossed 63 years of age on the date of the journey.
In addition to the above financial benefits, there are several non-financial benefits like reservation of seats in buses, separate queues in hospitals and priority given to registering telephone complaints, to name a few. To view the complete list, you can visit the following websites - http://socialjustice.nic.in/consd.php, http://www.whenat60.com/a-compendium-of-the-benefits-for-senior-citizens-in-india/ and http://voice4india.wordpress.com/2008/04/08/benefits-concessions-schemes-senior-citizens-india/. Remember to check the current applicability of the schemes and the related benefits.
Are you a senior citizen? What are the benefits you have received? Do let us know your experience.
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