29 January, 2018
One of the better parts of crossing the age 60 is the numerous benefits that you become eligible for, from the government as well as other agencies around. These benefits are meant to make the life easier and help seniors live as independently as possible. However, in a vast country like India, the biggest hitch with such benefits is the fact that awareness is very low about these. Even among the educated class, many are not aware of the benefits or how to avail these, and the illiterate are anyway totally blank about these. However, if one is aware of the benefits, and can also spread awareness among people of similar age, these benefits can indeed prove to be a big boon for seniors.
Listed below you will find a few of the benefits that you can check out and avail, whenever there is a need.
Senior Citizen Benefits
Senior citizens are exempt from income tax up to an income amount of 3 lakh per annum, and if you are above 85, this amount increases to 5 lakh per annum. This benefit is provided so that you can earn, save and lead a decent life without having to pay taxes. Apart from this, if you have health insurance, up to 50,000 rupees premium is exempt from tax and for those suffering from any critical illness, up to Rs 80,000 exemption can be claimed under Section 80DDB while filing your returns. This amount is set to Rs 100,000 for super seniors (above 85) and they can also claim benefits on actual medical expenses incurred, apart from the premium. Also, a deduction up to I lakh can be claimed by those between 60 and 80 years as well, on actual medical expenses. The tax threshold for senior citizens under Section 194 A has been raised from Rs. 10, 000 to Rs. 50, 000 from the next financial year.
Senior citizens are also not required to pay any taxes for the amount received under the reverse mortgage scheme. There are no TDS deductions required and a standard deduction of Rs. 40, 000 can be claimed by pensioners, without any bills, for transport and medical expenses. Senior citizen tax returns’ will only be scrutinized if there is credible information about the same. If you are not running a business, then you are exempt from payment of Advance tax. You can also enjoy tax benefits on the TDS, for income earned from interest on the deposits. Earlier, the exemption limit for this was only Rs. 10, 000, but now it has been hiked to Rs. 50, 000, under section 80TTB. The same can be claimed by submitting Form 15-H. Senior citizens are also exempt from e-filing of income tax returns so that they can conveniently file it, using paper process. Few states have even exempted the professional tax as well.
Investment in PMVVY
The Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana (PMVVY) will be extended up to March 2020. The current investment limit per senior citizen in this scheme, of Rs. 7.5 lakh is will be increased to Rs. 15 lakh. Investments in this scheme are set to provide an assured return of 8% per annum for 10 years, payable monthly or as per frequency chosen, the through Life Insurance Corporation of India.
Air - Air travel is cheaper for senior citizens with a 50% discount, with valid ID card being provided. The benefit is for domestic travel in economy class, so if you have travel plans, you may check this out to see if it works out cheaper.
Train – The railways also offer a 50% discount to women above 58 and 40% to men aged 60 and above. The discount is applicable in all trains, and classes of tickets. You are automatically allotted lower berths, apart from a separate booking counter facility.
Road – Few state transport corporations do offer subsidized travel for senior citizens.
Ship – Even Shipping Corporation of India offers extra discounts and special packages to senior citizens if they would like to cruise to Lakshadweep and the Andaman.
A minimum sum of one lakh for hospitalization and 2 lakh in case of any critical illness is covered under the 'Varishta Mediclaim Policy'. This is applicable top seniors in the age group 60-80. This is done keeping in mind expenses that senior citizens incur on health checkups, emergency medical costs, and long-term treatment. The premium of this policy up to Rs 15000 is exempt from tax, apart from many other attractive features. The policy can be purchased from National Insurance, while a few other insurance companies also offer similar plans.
A reverse mortgage can be explored by seniors if they are in need of a steady monthly income and own a property/accommodation that they can use for the reverse mortgage. The property should be self or jointly owned with the spouse and should be the primary residence of the people. Details can be had from any nationalized Bank.
BSNL and MTNL also offer some priority booking, waiving of registration charges as well as a 25% discount on installation and monthly bill charges to senior citizens.
Higher interest rates
Banks offer higher interest rates to senior citizens on their fixed deposits and savings. In fact, many banks also offer personal loans at special rates for seniors.
Priority court hearing
You are eligible to write to court asking for a priority hearing if you are a senior citizen.
Seniors will be issued a passport on a post-police-verification basis, on request, if they submit a copy of their child’s passport along with their application form. The child should be above 18 years of age, staying abroad and their passport copy should bear his/her parents name.
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