The government of India has launched pension schemes to provide financial stability and security for retirees. If you register for a pension scheme in India at a younger age, you may have an easier time when you retire.
Pension Schemes for Senior Citizens Offered by the Government of India
Pension schemes in India trace their origin as far back as British rule. Government employees first received pension benefits in 1881 through the Royal Commission of Civil Establishments.
The Government of India acts of 1919 and 1935 made further provisions for pensions for government employees. Today, the government of India offers several pension schemes for government and private employees.
List of the Best Pension Schemes for Senior Citizens
Here are the various pension schemes for senior citizens offered by the government of India. Depending on requirements, a person can apply for one or more of these pension schemes.
1. National Pension Scheme (NPS)
Launched in 2004, the National Pension Scheme was available only to government employees. However, all citizens except army personnel were granted access from 2009 onwards. The minimum contribution is ₹6,000 per year.
- Should be an Indian citizen.
- An account can be opened between the ages of 18 to 65 years.
- KYC details required.
- Applicant should not already have an NPS account.
Benefits of NPS
- Returns are inflation-adjusted.
- Contributions are invested in market-linked elements like equities which provide better returns.
- High interest rate ranging from 9-12%.
- Partial withdrawals allowed with effect from three years of opening for specific purposes like home purchase, child’s education and medical expenses.
- Income tax exemption provided.
2. Senior Citizens Saving Scheme (SCSS)
The SSCS is for Indian citizens above 60 years of age. Although it isn’t specifically a pension scheme in the conventional sense, since the minimum entry age is 60, it implies the same.
The minimum deposit amount is ₹1,000 with a maximum contribution of ₹15 lakhs. It takes five years for the deposit to mature, and a single extension for another three years is allowed. SCSS is available in banks and post offices. Penalties of 1% to 1.5% are charged for early withdrawal.
- Must be an Indian citizen.
- Should be at least 60 years of age.
Benefits of SCSS
- Interest rate of 8.6%.
- Tax exemptions provided against investments made.
- Short-term investment with a maturity of five to eight years.
- Early withdrawal facility available, but penalties apply.
3. Atal Pension Yojana (APY)
The Atal Pension Yojana motivates workers and daily wage earners to register and make a small voluntary contribution every month towards their retirement fund.
This pension scheme addresses risk factors of the working class in an attempt to provide a better future in old age for the poor.
- The applicant must belong to the lower-income group.
- Only those who do not pay income tax due to low income are eligible.
- Applicants should be between 18 and 40 years.
Benefits of APY
- 50% of every contribution is additionally contributed by the central government or ₹1,000 per annum, depending on the contribution amount.
- Provision exists for naming a nominee in case of the pensioner’s demise.
- At retirement age, pensioners receive between ₹1,000 to ₹5,000 per month.
4. Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana (PMVVY)
This government pension scheme is provided by the Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC). The Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana provides guaranteed returns for ten years.
Recently in the 2018-19 budget, the maximum purchase price for PMVVY was increased to ₹15 lakhs. Under this scheme, the beneficiary is assured of a minimum of 8% per annum. However, there are no tax benefits for PMVVY.
- Must be an Indian citizen
- Should be more than 60 years of age.
- Has to avail of the policy in ten years.
Benefits of PMVVY
- Guaranteed return of 8% per annum on maturity.
- The beneficiary can select a suitable term.
- The minimum contribution is ₹100 per month.
- The nominee is eligible for a payout in case of the beneficiary’s premature demise.
- Early exit provision in case of a critical illness but with a 2% penalty.
5. Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana (RVY)
The Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment launched this scheme in 2017. Similar to the Atal Pension Yojana, this scheme is aimed at senior citizens below the poverty line (BPL).
RVY is a unique scheme that provides physical aids like hearing aids, crutches and wheelchairs to needy senior citizens. The following items can be availed of through RVY:
- Walking sticks
- Elbow crutches
- Hearing Aids
- Artificial Dentures
- Needs to be a citizen of India.
- Should suffer from age-related disabilities/infirmities.
- Must be a senior citizen.
- Should be a BPL cardholder.
Benefits of RVY
- Devices distributed free of cost.
- 30% quota allocated to women.
- Free maintenance of aids and assisted devices provided for the first year.
- A single individual can receive more than one aid/assisted device in case of multiple disabilities or infirmities.
6. Varishtha Pension Bima Yojana (VPBY)
The Varishtha Pension Bima Yojana involves providing the elderly with an immediate annuity payout.
VPBY, also called LIC VPBY, is executed through LIC. The guaranteed amount is 8% per annum for ten years. The contributor can choose between annual, half-yearly or monthly instalments. The minimum lock-in period, however, is 15 years.
- Should be a citizen of India.
- Available to individuals aged 60 and above.
- No upper age limit to the scheme.
Benefits of VPBY
- All payments to this policy are made through an electronic clearing service (ECS).
- Guaranteed returns of 8% per annum for ten years.
- Free trial period of 15 days at the beginning of the policy.
- Tax benefits available under Section 80C of the Indian Income Tax Act.
- Loan facility of up to 75% if the policy amount available against contributions after three years of contributing.
- Nominee/s will receive a payout in case of the untimely demise of the beneficiary.
- Medical checkups not required to avail of the scheme benefits.
7. Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme (IGNOAPS)
This pension scheme was launched in 2007 by the Ministry of Rural Development. IGNOAPS is also known as the National Social Assistance Program (NSAP) or National Old Age Pension Scheme (NOAPS).
It provides pensions to senior citizens, especially those who are widows or disabled.
- The minimum age should be 60 years or more.
- The applicant should come from a low-income or BPL group.
- There should be no other regular source of income or financial support from family members for the applicant.
Benefits of IGNOAPS
- It is a pension scheme for the elderly to get a monthly income to cover their expenses.
- The beneficiary does not need to contribute any amount to receive a pension.
- ₹200 is paid monthly to beneficiaries between ages 60 and 79 years, and ₹500 for those aged 80 years and above.
- The amount is paid directly into the pensioner’s bank or post office account.
8. Employee Pension Scheme (EPS)
This government pension scheme was introduced in 1995 and also goes by the name Employees’ Pension Fund (EPF). The government of India’s Employees’ Provident Fund Organization (EPFO) launched the EPS scheme in 1995.
The purpose of the employee pension scheme is to provide social security to employees of private and government organizations once they retire, that is, on reaching the age of 58. The employee has to complete at least ten years of service, continuously or intermittently, to be eligible to become a member of this scheme.
An interesting aspect of this government pension scheme is that there are different types of EPS as follows:
- Widow Pension: It also goes by the name of Vridha pension. Here, if the member passes away, his widow receives a pension on his behalf.
- Child Pension: Any surviving children of a deceased member are eligible to receive this pension. The child will continue to receive benefits until the age of 25.
- Orphan Pension: This pension is available to the member’s children on his demise in the absence of a surviving widow.
- Reduced Pension: There is a provision wherein the member can make an early pension withdrawal between ages 50 and 58. In this case, the pension is reduced to 4% per annum.
- Must be a member of EPFO
- Must have completed at least ten years of actively contributing to the pension fund.
- Eligible for withdrawals only after completing 58 years for a full pension and 50 years for a reduced pension.
Benefits of EPS
- EPS is available to all government and private employees.
- It provides a pension to members on reaching the age of 58 years.
- Early withdrawal facility subject to terms and conditions is available.
- On the demise of the member, benefits are transferred to his widow or children.
The government of India offers several pension schemes to provide security to the elderly during their golden years. Check your eligibility for a government pension thoroughly to receive benefits. It's also important to be aware of the terms and conditions before registering for a new pension scheme.
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