SSS opens loan application for members hit by recent Mindanao quakes

Robie de Guzman   •   November 18, 2019   •   863

A Filipino villager sits amongst rubble after a quake were felt in Digos City, Philippines, 30 October 2019. At least five people have been killed and around 70 injured, after the earthquake struck the island of Mindanao in the Philippines. EPA-EFE/CERILO EBRANO

MANILA, Philippines – The Social Security System (SSS) on Monday, Nov. 18, will begin accepting applications for calamity loan, advance three-month pension and direct house repair and improvement loan for its members in areas that were recently hit by a string of earthquakes in Mindanao.

SSS president and chief executive officer Aurora Ignacio said over P443 million in calamity loan assistance will be made available to up to 54,000 members in quake-stricken areas in Mindanao.

In a SSS circular dated Nov. 8, the agency said the assistance program covers members and pensioners in areas placed under state of calamity by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC): municipalities of Bansalan and Matanao in Davao del Sur; municipalities of Makilala and Tulunan, and Kidapawan City in North Cotabato.

“It is unfortunate that the series of strong quakes greatly affected their daily living. That’s why we prioritized the immediate approval of granting calamity assistance in order to extend financial help to our members and pensioners in the affected areas,” Ignacio said in a statement.

The loanable amount is equivalent to one-month salary credit (MSC) computed based on the average of the last 12 MSC or the total amount of damages as certified by the member in the application form, (rounded up to the nearest thousand), whichever is lower.

To avail of the calamity loan, the SSS said that members should have a minimum of 36 monthly contributions, six of which should be posted within the last 12 months prior to the month of filing of the application.

They should also be registered in the SSS web registration for billing purposes, have not been granted any final benefit such as total permanent disability or retirement, and have no outstanding balance under the loan restructuring program or calamity loan assistance program.

Members must personally apply for the calamity loan assistance program thru the SSS branches, the agency said.

SSS members who work as overseas Filipino workers (OFW) or seafarers may also apply for the program as long as they have a residence in the quake-hit areas.

“Authorization letter should be issued to their authorized representatives to apply for the calamity loan assistance package on their behalf. Member-applicants should also submit a barangay certification as proof that they are residents of the declared calamity area,” Ignacio said.

SSS members and pensioners may apply for the calamity loan assistance program and the advance three-month pensions, respectively, for three months or until February next year.

The assistance package may be availed until February 17, 2020, except for the direct house repair and improvement loan which is up to one year from the issuance of the circular.

SSS further extends deadline of contribution payment to November 30

Marje Pelayo   •   October 19, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Social Security System (SSS) has further extended the payment deadline for member’s contributions to November 30, 2020.

The new deadline is to give the agency’s covered employers and members more time to settle their overdue contributions in the past months this year, in consideration of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) situation.

Under Circular No. 2020-006-d, issued Tuesday (October 13), regular employers may pay their employees’ contributions from February to October 2020 until the end of November this year.

Meanwhile, contribution payments from January to September 2020 of self-employed, voluntary, and non-working spouse members and household employers for their employees may also be paid until the said deadline.

Likewise, employers with SSS-approved installment proposals are given until November 30, 2020, to deposit their post-dated checks, which fall due from March to October 2020.

Contribution payments of employers for the said applicable periods would not incur penalties if paid within the deadline.

The agency noted that since November 30 is a holiday, payments may be made on the next working day.

For more information, visit SSS official Facebook page or call the SSS hotline at 1455. 

SSS shifts to digital processing of benefit claims

Robie de Guzman   •   August 28, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The online filing and registration of new employees as members of the Social Security System along with the submission of most forms and benefit claims has been made mandatory as of July 15, the Department of Finance (DOF) said.

In a statement, the DOF said that the move is in compliance with the directive of Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III to shift to digital technology to further improve its services.

In its report to Dominguez, the SSS said the release of loans and benefits to members except for unbanked pensioners, have also been made “cheque-less” through the use of PesoNet and other electronic payment systems as of July this year.

SSS President-CEO Aurora Cruz Ignacio said the state-run firm is targeting to include unbanked pensioners in the “cheque-less” release of benefits by October this year.

She said that since July 15, the submission of the Maternity Notification Form for pregnant female SSS members and the Sickness Notification Form were required by the SSS to be done online.

The filing of Retirement Benefit Claim of members who are at least 65 years old and the application for Unemployment Insurance Benefit (UIB) have also been shifted to digital.

The online filing of the applications for the Calamity Loan and Salary Loan were made mandatory by the SSS a month earlier on June 15, while the filing of the Sickness Benefit Reimbursement Claim of employers was required to be done online as of July 1 this year.

The online enrollment of bank accounts in the My.SSS or SSS online portal is already mandatory for members since June 2020 and for employers starting August 2020.

The SSS said the online enrolment will enable to agency to automatically deposit benefits to the member’s and employer’s enrolled bank account.

Dominguez, who is also the ex-officio chairman of the Social Security Commission (SSC), last year urged the SSS to use digital tools to make it easier for its members to access its services.

The Finance chief said modernizing the SSS’ system will also help cut overhead costs for the pension fund.

He said the SSS needs to be prudent in managing its expenses, given that its task involves taking care of the hard-earned savings of Filipino workers.

“We have to do some serious investments in technology because it will not only save us money, but will also save time for the transacting public. Online transactions are easier and more convenient,” Dominguez said.

The SSS said it has also made mandatory the online filing of applications for the COVID-19 Calamity Loan Assistance Package (CLAP) since the program was launched last June 15.

Online filing of Funeral Benefit Claims for SSS member-claimants was made available starting July and will be mandatory by August, Ignacio said.

Meanwhile, the online filing of the Retirement Benefit Claim of OFW and voluntary members who are 60 to 64 years old has also been made mandatory starting August.

P15.63B calamity loans, P190M unemployment benefits of COVID-hit workers approved in July – SSS

Robie de Guzman   •   August 5, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Social Security System (SSS) has so far approved P15.63 billion in novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) calamity assistance loans, as of July 28, the Department of Finance (DOF) said Tuesday.

The SSS also approved P190.02 million in unemployment insurance benefits from July 1 to 27 this year, to tide over members heavily hit by the pandemic’s economic fallout, the DOF added.

According to SSS President and CEO Aurora Cruz Ignacio, they have approved more than one million applications for its Calamity Loan Assistance Package (CLAP) for the COVID-19 outbreak since its online filing was launched last June 15.

Ignacio said the Calamity Loan for COVID-19 will run for a period of three months starting June until September 14, 2020 only.

Online application for the loan is now mandatory, she added.

The calamity loan for COVID-19 carries a six percent interest per annum commencing on the 4th month with a 27-month term, inclusive of a three-month moratorium.

The SSS said members who are involuntary separated from work can avail of unemployment insurance equivalent to a half of their average monthly salary credit for a maximum of two months.

To qualify, they should have paid the requisite minimum number of monthly contributions for three years, twelve of which should have been made in the eighteen-month period immediately preceding the month of involuntary separation.

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