From time to time, the government of India brings out schemes to benefit the senior citizens and help them lead dignified lives. Apart from doorstep banking services, travel subsidies, walk-ins for passport renewals, etc., the government also tries to bring schemes to assist them with financial freedom and healthcare. Let’s take a look at a few of them.
- Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Scheme (PMVVS)
This is a welfare scheme for the senior citizens of the country, implemented with the help of the Life Insurance Corporation (LIC). Currently, this scheme is open till Mar 2023 and can be purchased online or offline at LIC offices or through their designated agents. Benefits include a pension paid for the life term of the policyholder, a death benefit to the nominee on the death of the Pensioner during the policy term of 10 years, and a maturity benefit for the survival of the pensioner. The minimum entry age is 60 years and there is no max age limit prescribed. The policy term is 10 years and the minimum pension per month is Rs.1000. The maximum pension per month is fixed at Rs. 9250 and the total purchase by a senior citizen under this scheme shall not exceed INR 15 lakhs.
Different purchase prices have been fixed for different modes of pension payment. Premature exit with 98% surrender value is allowed under exceptional circumstances. The loan facility is available after 3 years of policy completion. According to the information available on the LIC website, for the financial Year 2022-23, the scheme shall provide an assured pension of 7.40% p.a. payable monthly. This assured rate of pension shall be payable for the full policy term of 10 years for all the policies purchased till 31st March 2023. This is a good scheme that can assure a monthly income for senior citizens.
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- Atal Pension Yojana (APY)
This is a guaranteed pension scheme by the Government of India with pensions ranging from Rs. 1000 to 5000 per month. The Government of India (GoI) will co-contribute 50% of the subscriber’s contribution or Rs. 1,000 per annum, whichever is lower, for 5 years. APY can be availed by all Indian citizens aged between 18-40 years having a bank or post office account and the pension will start at the age of 60 years. The same pension is guaranteed to the spouse by the Government of India, on the death of the pension subscriber. Information regarding this scheme can be had from any bank or post office through online or offline methods. The person availing the scheme needs to pay a small amount towards the scheme periodically as chosen. Most banks have the complete worked-out details made available on their website.
- Varistha Mediclaim
This is an exclusively senior citizen health insurance policy for senior citizens by the Government of India, offered through National Insurance Company Ltd. This policy can be availed by all Indian citizens between 60 and 80 years. The policy is renewable till the age of 90 years. The sum insured under this scheme can be 1 lakh for hospitalisation and 2 lakhs for critical illness coverage. The coverage is applicable for hospitalization expenses and treatment for critical illness and treatment. Coverage is provided for pre-existing illnesses like diabetes and hypertension at an extra premium. The policy provides cashless options through a network of hospitals and reimbursement options when treatment is availed through non-network hospitals. The premium paid for this scheme is also eligible for tax benefits as applicable at the time. The policy details are easily available online and can be purchased through their offices or agents.
For those below the poverty line, there is a pension scheme, Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme (IGNOAPS), launched by the Ministry of Rural Development. Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana (RVY) is another scheme aimed to benefit the senior citizens under the poverty line, wherein they will be provided with physical aids and assisted-living devices. There is also a scheme called the National Programme for the Health Care of Elderly (NPHCE), aimed at providing accessible, affordable, and high-quality long-term, comprehensive, and dedicated care services to seniors.
Under this scheme, renamed RashtriyaVaristh Jan Swasthya Yojana (RVJSY), outpatient and inpatient services, lab services, etc. are provided through Regional Geriatric Centres (RGCs). These services are provided through 19 Medical colleges in 18 states of India and two National Centres of Aging (NCAs) one in AIIMS, Ansari Nagar, New Delhi, and another in Madras Medical College, Chennai. The services are either free or provided through highly subsidised rates.