SSS offers calamity package for members means BUSINESS

MANILA – The Social Security System has offered a calamity package for members adversely affected by floods, allowing them to advance their pensions, restructure terms of outstanding loans.

In a statement, Emilio de Quiros Jr., president of state-run SSS, said the package will cover members located in the calamity areas officially declared by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, as follows:

- Cities and municipalities in the National Capital Region;

- Bataan, Pampanga, Zambales and Bulacan in Region III;

- Laguna in Region IV-A;

- Culion, El Nido and Linacapan in Palawan in Region IV-B; and

- Other areas that NDRRMC subsequently will declare as calamity zones.

"The various provisions in the SSS relief package will help affected members and pensioners to recover from the disaster, rebuild their homes, re-establish their source of livelihood and attend to their immediate needs such as food, clothing, shelter and health care," de Quiros said.

The relief package will include a three-month advance in pensions. Pensioners who apply for the package on or before August 31 will get their October, November, and December pensions in advance. Those who will apply anytime in September will receive their November, December, and January 2013 pensions.

To be qualified for the calamity package, the pension fund requires applicants to submit certifications of residence signed by their respective barangay chairmen.

De Quiros said retirement, disability, and survivor pensioners who applied for advance release of pensions will get these through checks.

"However, the 13th month pension will still be given in December so that they can still look forward to a bonus at the end of the year," he said.

The package doesn’t apply to employed, self-employed, and voluntary members affected by the floods. They can still avail of the SSS Salary Loan provided they have at least 36 months of contributions, including six monthly premiums paid within the 12-month period before the loan application. 

Members with at least 72 months contributions can apply for a two-month salary loan.

"For those with existing salary loans, we have opened the Salary Loan Early Renewal Program to enable them to renew their loan ahead of the prescribed two-year period," de Quiros said.

The SLERP is open for application until September 30.

As to outstanding loans, SSS will lift sanctions provided for under the Loan Pentalty Condonation Program and the service fee of one percent will be waived.

For SSS members whose homes were damaged by the floods, interest rates of the Direct Home Repair and Improvement Loans were cut by two percentage points.

"Under the calamity relief package, the applicable interest rate will be six percent per annum for loans P400,000 and below, and seven percent for loans over P400,000 up to P1 million," de Quiros said.

Since it takes time to gather the required documents, members have until June 30 of next year to avail themselves of the Direct House Repair Loan.

The pension fund will also extend the payment deadline to August 15 for members in affected areas whose cut-off dates for contributions and loan amortizations fall within August 7 to 14.

As of now, the extended deadline applies to all members whose 10-digit SSS number ends with "1" or "2."

"We recognize the devastation that the monsoon rains have wrought on our countrymen. As the state institution in-charge of their social security, we aim to provide our members with some comfort and relief in these times of calamity, so that they can get back on their feet as soon as possible," de Quiros said.