Typhoon Tisoy-hit members, pensioners can now avail of calamity loan – SSS

Robie de Guzman   •   December 27, 2019   •   2188

Children frolic in floodwater in Naga city, Camarines Sur province, Philippines, 03 December 2019. EPA-EFE/JONNEL MARIBOJOC

MANILA, Philippines – Members of the Social Security System (SSS) who were affected by typhoon Tisoy may now apply for the Calamity Assistance Package (CAP) loan.

SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Aurora Ignacio said members and pensioners in Southern Luzon and Visayas hit by Tisoy may now avail of the calamity loan, direct house repair and improvement loan as well the advanced three-month pension program.

She added that the CAP program, which has a total fund allocation of more than P614 million, covers members and pensioners residing in areas declared under state of calamity by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

These areas include Batangas City; Mabitac, Laguna; Provinces of Quezon, Cavite, Oriental Mindoro, Occidental Mindoro, Marinduque; Corcuera, Romblon and San Fernando in Romblon; and Province of Northern Samar.

“The CAP includes a loan assistance program which is a separate loan window from the regular salary loan,” Ignacio said in a statement Monday.

“Members can borrow up to P40,000 in calamity loan depending on their average last 12 monthly salary credit. The financial assistance is also open to pensioners who can avail three months advance of their monthly pension. Moreover, members can also apply for direct housing repair and improvement loan,” she added.

Loan application for Tisoy-hit SSS members is open from December 20, 2019 to March 19, 2020.

“Members who would like to avail of the Calamity Assistance Package are required to be registered in the My.SSS application to facilitate their billing requirements in the future,” Ignacio said.

The SSS Chief, however, clarified that members who still have outstanding loans under the Loan Restructuring Program (LRP) and previous CAPs, as well as those receiving pensions for total permanent disability and retirement, and those who have availed of the Pension Loan Program (PLP) are not qualified to avail of the calamity loan.

The SSS said the calamity loan is payable in two years in equal monthly installments with an annual interest rate of 10 percent and one percent monthly penalty for late payments.

To eliminate additional expenses on the part of member-borrowers, SSS waived the one percent service fee, it added.

Aside from the calamity loan, the SSS said that members with damaged properties can also avail of the direct house repair and improvement loan with six months moratorium in amortization and interest payments.

“Members can borrow up to a maximum of P1 million under this program which will run for one year or until 20 December 2020,” Ignacio said.

“To qualify, the applicant must not be more than 60 years old and with at least 24 monthly contributions, of which three contributions were remitted within the last 12-month period prior to the month of filing,” she added.

SSS to accept online filing of maternity benefit claims starting May 31

Robie de Guzman   •   May 28, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Social Security System (SSS) on Friday said it will soon accept online Maternity Benefit Applications (MBA) and Maternity Benefit Reimbursement Applications (MBRA).

In a statement, SSS president and chief executive officer Aurora Ignacio said the online filing of MBA and MBRA through the My.SSS portal on the SSS website would start on May 31.

Ignacio said this is in line with SSS’ scheduled mandatory implementation, which will take effect on September 1.

“As part of our digitalization initiatives, the SSS has now allowed maternity benefit applications to be filed online, along with sickness benefit reimbursement, unemployment, retirement, and funeral. We recognize the current situation of our female members who are high-risk individuals to COVID-19 infection. Their health and safety remain our top priority,” Ignacio said.

The dropbox or over-the-counter filing will still be allowed at the SSS Branch Office/Foreign Representative Office (FRO)/Medical Evaluation Center (MEC) until August 31.

Maternity benefit covers all female self-employed, voluntary, overseas Filipino workers (OFW), non-working spouse members, and female members who are separated from employment and have not yet received any advance payment of maternity benefit from their previous employers. Meanwhile, maternity benefit reimbursement covers all employers, including household employers.

Online filing through the member or employer’s My.SSS account applies to all initial or new claims as well as cases for adjustments, including the following instances:

  • Member is qualified as a solo parent;
  • With correction on the type of delivery from normal to caesarian delivery or from miscarriage to ectopic pregnancy with operation;
  • SSS computation is higher than the employer’s computation;
  • Additional posted contributions will increase the benefit amount;
  • Correction of the approved number of compensable days from 60 (normal delivery) or 78 (caesarian section delivery) to 105 days; and
  • Allocation of leave credits not used due to separation from employment of child’s father or qualified alternate caregiver.

“Required supporting documents corresponding to the type of claim need to be scanned and uploaded by the filer for review by SSS,” the agency said.

For MBRAs, the receipt of the advance payment by an employer must be confirmed/ certified by the female employed member within seven working days from the date of the e-mail notification sent by SSS.

“The member may access the confirmation/ certification facility through the link in the SSS e-mail or the account in My.SSS,” the agency said.

If the member fails to confirm/certify within the prescribed period, the claim will be rejected and the employer will have to re-submit or re-file another MBRA as a new transaction.

For cases wherein the member is separated from employment, absence without leave (AWOL), or deceased before filing the claim, confirmation/certification is no longer required.

The maternity benefit offered by SSS is a cash allowance granted to qualified female members.

To qualify, there must be at least three monthly contributions within the 12-month period immediately preceding the semester of the childbirth, miscarriage, or emergency termination of pregnancy (ETP).

For employed members, they should notify their employers upon learning about their pregnancy. For self-employed, voluntary, and OFW members, they may submit the maternity notification via the My.SSS portal on the SSS website or through the SSS Mobile App.

Members are reminded that only contributions paid prior to the semester of childbirth, miscarriage, or ETP will be considered in determining eligibility for maternity benefits.

The 105-Day Expanded Maternity Leave Law implemented on March 11, 2019 increases the number of compensable days of maternity leave, from the initial 60 days for normal delivery, or 78 days for caesarian section delivery, to 105 days for live childbirth—regardless of the type of delivery. There is also an additional 15 days paid leave if the female worker qualifies as a solo parent.

In case of miscarriage, the entitlement is 60 days of paid maternity leave. The law also granted further consideration to our women by extending maternity leave to every instance of pregnancy, and miscarriage, regardless of frequency, from the previous limit of the first four deliveries or miscarriages.

“We encourage our members and employers to register at My.SSS and enroll their bank accounts in the Disbursement Account Enrollment Module (DAEM) to receive their benefits at the soonest possible time,” Ignacio said.

“The online service offerings are part of our brand campaign through ExpreSSS for faster, easier, and simpler means of transacting with SSS,” she added.

Senate OKs bill granting presidential powers to defer SSS contribution hike

Robie de Guzman   •   February 23, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Senate has approved on third and final reading a bill seeking to grant the President limited power to postpone increases in the Social Security System (SSS) contributions for six months in times of national emergency or calamity.

The Senate Bill 2027 was passed on Monday after receiving 21 affirmative votes from senators. It was sponsored by Sen. Richard Gordon, chairperson of the Committee on Government Corporations and Public Enterprises.

Under the measure, the President, upon the recommendation of the Social Security Commission, may suspend the scheduled increase for six months and may extend the deferment for another six months for a total of one year.

The bill seeks to amend section 4(a)(9) of Republic Act No. 11199, also known as the “Social Security Act of 2018,” which allows the Social Security Commission, the governing body of the SSS, to implement the contribution rate increase.

Under Sec. 4(a)(9) of Republic Act (RA) No. 11199, a one percent contribution increase will be imposed on SSS members every two years starting 2019 until 2025.

This means that from a contribution rate of 12 percent in 2020, contribution rate will increase to 13 percent beginning January 2021.

Gordon, also one of the bill’s authors, pointed out that having the mandated contribution increase under RA 11199 is not timely because of the continuing hardship brought about by COVID-19 pandemic to the people and to the business sector.

“This bill seeks to provide the people with flexibility to adapt to the pandemic by empowering the President to temporarily suspend or defend the increase in contributions scheduled under RA 11199, so that the people will be able to have financial breathing space to be able to adjust to the on-going National Emergency,” Gordon said in a statement.

The bill also states that other scheduled contribution rates and the monthly salary credits shall continue to be valid and effective, provided that no changes in the implementing rules or administrative procedures would be introduced by the Social Security Commission that will defer the disbursement of benefits.

Bill seeking deferment of SSS contribution hike pushed

Marje Pelayo   •   January 5, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — A proposed bill was filed in the Senate seeking the deferment of contribution increase among members of the Social Security System (SSS).

This shall be through an amendment in the provision of the Social Security System Act of 2018, particularly Section 4.

According to Senator Joel Villanueva, the SSS still has enough funds to sustain its services even with a one-year suspension of contribution increase based on the agency’s collections in 2019.

With this, the lawmaker called on his colleagues in the Senate to expedite the passage of the measure on the matter.

“Gusto natin na mag-status quo lang po tayo, for this year alone, 2021. Wala naman pong naka-anticipate na magkakaroon ng ganitong pandemya, at mahihirapan nang husto ang ating mga manggagawang kababayan, ang ating mga employers,” he said.

“Bigyan po natin sila ng konting panahon pa para maka-recover, until such a time na, yun ho. Puwede na nating i-increase ulit ang contribution ng SSS,” he added.

For his part, Senator Richard Gordon acknowledged the need for a new measure that will help the public recover from the impact of the pandemic.

“Pag-uusapan namin ito sa komite at kung kinakailangan ay maglalabas kami ng bagong batas para maging magaan para sa ating mga kabababayan ang makaahon sa pandemyang ito habang patuloy na nagbabayad ng kanilang kontribusyon sa SSS,” said Gordon, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Government Corporation and Public Enterprises.

The Senate has asked the SSS to submit proposals on ways to defer the contribution hike in consideration to the ongoing pandemic.

In a statement Tuesday (January 5), the SSS stressed that the scheduled increase in its contribution rate and minimum and maximum monthly salary credits (MSCs) is to ensure the continuous delivery of social security protection to its members and their beneficiaries.

SSS President and CEO Aurora C. Ignacio said that the SSS has been listening to the clamor of various labor groups and members to defer the said mandated increases; however, the move is designed to protect the fund life of the SSS.

“We understand the plight of our covered employers and members, but, at the same time, it is our duty to secure the long-term viability of the SSS fund entrusted to us for the continuous delivery of SSS benefits to our current and future members, as well as their beneficiaries,” Ignacio said.

This January 2021, the SSS contribution rate was increased to 13 percent from the previous 12 percent. 

The SSS emphasized that the said reforms will allow members to save more for their retirement.

Ignacio said that any delay in implementing the said reforms could endanger the fund life of the SSS and its ability to provide its members and their beneficiaries with benefits and loan privileges, especially in this time of the pandemic. -MNP (with inputs from Harlene Delgado)

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