By: Mexperience | mexperience.com
One of the most popular programs that senior citizens in Mexico enroll for is the INAPAM (Instituto Nacional para las Personas Adultas Mayores) discount card. This is offered to all Mexicans and foreign residents who are 60 years of age or older and enables them to enjoy worthwhile discounts on a whole range of goods and services including food, medicines, transport, clothing, as well as recreation and leisure activities.
Increasing numbers of firms and businesses are actively advertising the fact that they offer discounts to INAPAM card holders, and even those who don’t may well give a discount on goods and services you buy if you present your card to them. Many organizations in Mexico are pleased to give seniors a discount, and this card is the means by which prove your residency and age qualification status.
Once enrolled you receive a plastic card that you can present at thousands of stores, businesses, and government service agencies across Mexico to claim discounts of between 10% and 50% on goods and services you buy. Some municipalities are also offering discounts on property taxes and water bills to senior citizens with this card.
Here are some examples of the services that offer discounts:
Healthcare: Many pharmacies give discounts on medications (medicines are already much less expensive in Mexico than the US, and these discounts are in addition to the lower prices Americans enjoy here), and some dentists and doctors and other medical specialists will also give seniors a discount when they present the card;
Public Transportation: Bus companies, airlines, and some local taxi firms offer discounts on fares;
Food and Groceries: Local food stores, convenience stores, and specialist food emporiums offer discounts on your grocery shopping, saving you more money on your basic living costs;
Leisure: Many hotels and travel agencies in Mexico offer discounts to senior citizens who present the card. If you plan a party, many of the festivity halls (salon de fiestas) offer a discount on rentals to seniors booking the facilities;
Eating Out: Many cafes and diners, including the big-name national diner chains, offer discounts to INAPAM card holders;
Culture: Many museums, archaeology parks, art galleries, and bookstores offer discounts to card holders;
Miscellany: A whole raft of businesses offer seniors a discount when they present their card, for example: legal firms, art & craft stores, car service and repair centers, computer sales and repair stores, clothing and apparel stores, accountants, construction firms, hardware stores, florists, printers, locksmiths, jewelry stores, beauty salons, home DIY centers, stationers, plumbers, electricians, dry cleaners, veterinary services, etc.
Discount on Property Taxes and Water Bills: Some municipalities are offering seniors a discount on their annual property taxes (Predial) and their water bills. Discounts, where offered, vary by municipality—check locally for details in your area.
How to Apply for the Card
The INAPAM card is available to all seniors who are 60 years or older. It’s simple and free to apply for the card.
You will need to present some official identification, like a passport or driver’s license, your birth certificate and, as a foreigner, you will also need to present your old FM3/FM2 or your new Residente Temporal or Residente Permanente residency permit. You will also be asked for a utility bill or some other document that shows your current address in Mexico. Most people use their telephone bill.
You take these documents (as well as 2 photocopies of each) along with three passport-sized photographs of yourself to your local government office dealing with INAPAM applications (check locally where you live) and, when the application is completed, you will be presented with a card that you can use to obtain the discounts.
The government also staffs a helpline that is open from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. weekdays to answer questions you may have. The call is free from inside Mexico, dial 01 800 007 3705.
You can find additional information online about the program and the application process on the INAPAM web site (see link above). The page is in Spanish, and you can use the Google page translation feature if you need to.
Basic living costs in Mexico are already lower than those in the US, Canada and Europe. With the INAPAM card, seniors can enjoy additional discounts, and thus help to make their fixed incomes stretch further in retirement