A basket of benefits

  (photo credit: INGIMAGE)
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)

According to the law, senior citizens in Israel are entitled to a number of perks. This applies to men aged 67 and over, and women aged 62+. t

A long list of organizations – governmental, municipal and private – pffer benefits for senior citizens, while legislation provides for the statutory rights of seniors. Full information about seniors’ rights is available through the senior citizen call center at *8840 or online at VATIKIM.

When one reaches retirement age, one is eligible for a Senior Citizen Card, which entitles the holder to a long list of benefits, concessions and discounts. New olim who are seniors receive a special absorption basket to assist them in making Israel their home. This includes living allowances for the first six months and a rental subsidy for the first 12 months. Senior new immigrants are also entitled to a special monthly allowance from the National Insurance Institute (NII). Health insurance premiums are deducted from the old age allowance. 

New olim who come to Israel between the ages of 60 and 62 are not eligible for normal old age allowance but instead are eligible for special old age allowance, subject to the conditions specified by the NII.

Israelis receive monthly payments from the NII upon reaching retirement age, but those who have no other income may be eligible for income supplementation, subject to a personal income assessment. Alongside income supplementation, recipients are entitled to an array of concessions with their health service provider, municipalities, and the electric corporation. Recipients are also entitled to a heating provision – a one-time payment made to a family unit with the old age allowance during the month of October in cold areas of the country. 

Shmulik Mizrahi (Credit: Courtesy The Histadrut)
Shmulik Mizrahi (Credit: Courtesy The Histadrut)

People who require the assistance of a caretaker for carrying out routine activities or for supervision as the result of a medical condition are eligiible for long-term care benefits. These payments are subject to one’s income level.

Senior citizens enjoy a wide range of benefits and tax breaks. They can apply for a 30% rebate on municipal taxes (arnona) on apartments of less than 100 square meters. In addition, they receive tax benefits on their pensions.

Managing one’s financial assets may become more difficult with age, so  banks offer seniors a wide range of services. Seniors are also entitled to discounts on tickets to museums and nature reserves throughout the country. In addition, movie theaters grant seniors a 50% discount on tickets, and some institutes of higher learning offer discounts on a variety of courses.

With age, people make more use of public transportation.  Seniors using buses and trains get a 50%  discount. For those over 75, all public transportation throughout the country is free with a Rav Zahav card. 

With age, the use of medical services increases as well, Most health funds (kupat holim) give discounts to their senior members. This includes a 50% discount on medications, as well as discounts on some services. Those suffering from hearing problems are entitled to government participation in the purchase of hearing aids. Those in need of rehabilitation and mobility aids are entitled to participation of 75% to 100%, depending on their income level. Seniors should obtain the information regarding their benefits from their health fund branch, since each of the four health funds have different benefits for their senior members.

It is important to note that benefits for seniors are not granted automatically when one reaches the mandatory age. Seniors must apply for them. While the Senior Citizen Card is sent automatically when one reaches the right age, one must apply for the other benefits. That is, one must apply to the municipality, the electric and water companies, the transport authority, etc. 

With all the possibilities available, it is well worth the effort.

This article was written in cooperation with Histadrut