Government Schemes for Senior Citizens
Did you know that the elderly constitute the fastest-growing age segment? According to the United Nations Population Fund report, senior citizens are projected to increase by 22% in 2050, outnumbering the children’s population. To ensure a better quality of life for the elderly, senior citizen schemes help improve income security, welfare, and health while offering a social support system. The Government of India has launched several such schemes for senior citizens to secure a pension fund after retirement. In this article, let us go through the details of such government schemes for senior citizens in India.
List of 12 Government Schemes for Senior Citizens in India
1. Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana (PMVVY)
The Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana or PMVVY is a pension scheme, launched in May 2017. The retirement policy aims to provide elderlies with a fixed regular pension for a tenure of 10 years. Senior citizens can receive an assured rate of return on the money invested in PMVVY along with a maturity and a death benefit. The money invested in the scheme is called as the purchase price which has been increased to ₹15 Lakhs by the Indian Government. Individuals over 60 years of age can easily opt for this plan as the eligibility criteria only require the insured to be a senior citizen.
2. Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme (IGNOAPS)
Renamed and launched in November 2007, the Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme or IGNOAPS is a pension scheme for senior citizens falling under the Below Poverty Line (BPL) category. The IGNOAPS scheme is part of the National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP) and offers a monthly pension to eligible beneficiaries identified based on the BPL list. The Central Government offers a monthly pension of ₹200 to beneficiaries of up to 79 years old and ₹500 to beneficiaries over 80 years of age. But a key feature of the IGNOAPS scheme is that individuals do not have to contribute anything towards the plan to receive the pension benefit.
3. Varistha Mediclaim Policy
The Varistha Mediclaim Policy for senior citizens secures policyholders against hospitalisation expenses and critical illnesses. Offering insurance coverage options of ₹1 Lakh and ₹2 Lakhs, the entry age of the plan ranges between 60-80 years. Moreover, the policyholders can opt for insurance renewal up to 90 years of age. The Varistha Mediclaim Policy enables senior citizens to enjoy a cashless facility, coverage for pre and post-hospitalisation costs, in-patient treatment, ambulance cover, etc. Furthermore, the plan also provides coverage for diabetes, pre-existing conditions and hypertension!
4. National Programme for the Health Care of Elderly (NPHCE)
The National Programme for the Health Care of Elderly was launched during 2010-11 to address and improve the medical issues faced by elderlies. The health scheme aims to create dedicated healthcare facilities for individuals over 60 years of age at primary, secondary and tertiary levels. The range of services offered shall include diagnosis, preventive services, health promotion, rehabilitation services and home-based care as required. These dedicated medical facilities are available at community health centres, district hospitals, regional geriatric centres, primary health centres and sub-centres.
5. Varishtha Pension Bima Yojana
The Varishtha Pension Bima Yojana is a retirement scheme designed for individuals over 60 years of age. With a lock-in period of 15 years, the plan offers regular assured returns at a lucrative interest rate after making a single premium payment. The policyholder can opt for various payout options such as monthly, quarterly, semi-yearly and yearly payouts. After the lock-in is complete, the insured shall receive the originally invested amount. The key benefit of Varishtha Pension Bima Yojana is that policyholders can get a loan against the policy after completing 3 years.
6. Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana
Launched in April 2017, the Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana aims to provide senior citizens with physical aids, assisted living devices or equipment without any costs. Individuals who belong to the BPL category and are suffering from age-related medical issues or disabilities can benefit from this scheme. The beneficiaries are identified by the respective state or union territory and require a doctor’s examination to get the physical aid or equipment. The Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana provides assisted living devices such as walkers, spectacles, hearing aids, elbow crutches and other such equipment to senior citizens.
7. Vayoshreshtha Samman
The Vayoshreshtha Samman is a national award conferred to senior citizens who have made significant contributions to the cause of elderly individuals. Instituted by the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, the Vayoshreshtha Samman is a scheme for National Awards which is granted under thirteen categories and recipients are selected from diverse backgrounds.
8. Reverse Mortgage Scheme
Introduced in 2007-08, the Reverse Mortgage Scheme was launched by the Government of India for senior citizens. Individuals can mortgage their residential property as collateral to get a loan against it. Senior citizens can avail a supplementary income under the Reverse Mortgage Scheme when compared to other traditional investment options. The income received under the plan is completely tax-free and no pre-payment charges are levied for early repayment of the outstanding amount.
9. Senior Citizens' Welfare Fund (SCWF)
The Senior Citizens' Welfare Fund is designed to offer monetary support to senior citizens in the BPL category who do not have any other source of income. The SCWF came into effect in 2016 and the unclaimed funds present in various government savings schemes were asked to be transferred to SCWF. Such a fund aims to financially stabilise senior citizens with welfare and healthcare.
10. Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY)
Introduced to improve healthcare facilities and provide insurance coverage to the weaker sections of India including senior citizens, the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana was launched in September 2018. The PMJAY scheme offers a coverage amount of ₹5 Lakhs and secures expenses such as pre and post-hospitalisation, treatment, medications and more. Furthermore, the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana covers the medical costs incurred for the treatment of various critical illnesses along with pre-existing conditions. Beneficiaries are identified based on the Socio-Economic Caste Census 2011 and the policyholders covered under the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana.
11. Atal Vayo Abhyuday Yojana (AVYAY)
Designed to provide a better quality of life to senior citizens, the Atal Vayo Abhyuday Yojana (AVYAY) offers basic amenities such as food, shelter, healthcare services, etc. Such a government scheme for senior citizens aims to create programmes to help with active and productive ageing through training centres, catering to basic requirements of senior citizens, building relationships between elderlies and the youth, etc.
12. Atal Pension Yojana (APY)
The Government of India had launched the Atal Pension Yojana to offer pensions to individuals in the unorganised sector of India. Applicants can save up for their retirement with the Atal Pension Yojana and avail a monthly pension of up to ₹1,000 - ₹5,000 after retirement. Furthermore, the individual is eligible for tax benefits under Section 80D of the Income Tax Act, 1961. The entry age ranges between 18-40 years and the scheme has a minimum contribution period of 20 years.