One of the most popular programs that senior citizens enroll for in Mexico 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 very worthwhile discounts on a whole range of goods and services including food, medicines, transport, clothing, as well as recreation and leisure activities.
The program recognizes that retired people living on fixed incomes need financial support to help them keep their costs under control. More and more firms and businesses are actively advertising the fact that they offer discounts to INAPAM card holders, and even those who don’t may well introduce a discount on goods and services you buy if you present your card to them. Many organizations are very pleased to give seniors a discount, and the card is a means to prove your residency and qualification status.
Once enrolled, you receive a plastic card that, when presented at thousands of stores, businesses and government service agencies across Mexico, offers you significant discounts of between 10% and 50% on goods and services you buy; and an increasing number of municipalities are also offering discounts on property taxes and water bills.
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
Public Transportation: Bus companies, airlines, and 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; also recreation parks (like Six Flags Mexico). If you plan a party, many of the party rooms (salon de fiestas) offer a discount on rentals to seniors
Eating Out: Many cafes and diners, including the national chains Vips and Toks, offer discounts to INAPAM card holders
Culture: Many museums, archaeology parks, art galleries, and bookstores offer discounts to INAPAM 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, DIY centers, plumbers, electricians, dry cleaners, veterinary services, etc.
Discount on Property Taxes and Water Bills: Increasing numbers of municipalities are offering seniors a discount on their annual property taxes (Predial) and their water bills. Discounts, where offered, vary by municipality.
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 Temporary or Permanent Residency permit. You will also be asked for a utility bill or some other document that shows your current address in Mexico.
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 and, when the application is completed, you will be presented with a card that you can use to obtain the discounts.
The government staffs a help line that is open from 8:30 am to 2:30 pm weekdays, to answer questions you may have, and the call is free from inside Mexico: 800-007-3705.
You can find additional information online about the application process on the INAPAM website. 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 even further in retirement.