If you happen to be some 60 year-old and above, who gets no pension at all, does not get regular help from children and is not earning, you may qualify for the governmentâ€™s social pension program.
The pension, which comes via Article 20 of Republic Act 994 provides for the monthly stipend amounting to P500.00 for indigent senior citizens, to augment daily subsistence and other medical needs of senior citizens, according to Department of Social Welfare and Development 7 information Officer Leah Quintana.
Guesting the weekly Kapihan sa PIA aired over DyTR AM, the DSWD, through Quintana explained the nuances of the Expanded Senior Citizenâ€™s Act of 2010, which puts the provision on social pension payable to qualified senior citizens at the beginning of every quarter.
The social pension forms part of the additional benefits for senior citizens lumped in the expanded senior citizens act, which also includes mandatory PhilHealth coverage to indigent senior citizens, with the local government units ensuring their enrolment and lifetime coverage.
And all of that plus a whole lot more can be had if one is a registered and duly acknowledged member of the organization of senior citizens who can show proof of eligibility, a valid and original Senior Citizens’ Identification Card issued by the Head of the Office of Senior Citizens Affairs (OSCA) of the place where the senior citizen resides, explained the DSWD.
Once already a member, and certified indigent, the person can get social safety assistance to cushion the effects of economic shocks; disasters and calamities which include food, medicines, financial assistance for domicile repair, it shall be the duty of LGUs to source out the help from their disaster/calamity funds.
More than that, the additional government assistance also entitles the indigent death benefit assistance to a minimum of P2,000 to the nearest surviving relative who took care of the deceased senior citizens subject to guidelines issued by the DSWD and DILG, adds Quintana at the live radio forum.
The abovementioned privileges are over and above the mandatory 20% discount and value added tax exemption on medicine and drug purchases, purchase of eyeglasses, hearing aids, dentures, prosthetics, artificial bone replacements like steel, walkers, crutches, wheelchairs whether manual or electric-powered, canes/quad canes, geriatric diapers, and other essential medical supplies, accessories and equipment by or for senior citizens.
He grant also includes medical and dental services, diagnostic and laboratory tests: X-Rays, computerized tomography scans, and blood tests requested by a physician for the diagnosis and treatment of an illness, professional services in all private hospitals, medical facilities, outpatient clinics and home health care facilities.
Senior citizens, whether indigents or not can also avail of the grant of 20% discount for domestic transportation for air, sea and public land transportation, hotels and room accommodations including its services as hotel-based parlors and barbershops, restaurants, massage parlor, spa, sauna bath, aromatherapy rooms, workout gyms, swimming pools, Jacuzzis, ktv bars, internet facilities, food, drinks and other services offered.
According to RA 994, other senior citizen privileges include tax exemption for those working with minimum wage, training fees for socio-economic programs conducted by private and government agencies, free medical and dental services, diagnostic and laboratory tests, free vaccinations against flu, pneumococcal disease.
As to those needing to add more knowledge, an educational assistance for senior citizens needing to complete post high, post tertiary, as well as vocational or technical education in both public and private schools through scholarships, grants, are entitled to financial aid, subsidies and other incentives including support for books, learning materials, and uniform allowances.
All of these as the government recognizes the rights of senior citizens to take their proper place in society and make them a concern of the family, community, and government, support to the improvement of their total well-being of the elderly and their full participation as an integral part of Philippine society encouraging them to contribute to nation building and their families and the communities to reaffirm and apply the valued Filipino traditions of caring for the senior citizens, the law said. (rac/PIA-7/Bohol)