THE state-run Social Security System (SSS) on Tuesday said that almost P95.71 billion worth of benefits were disbursed to over 3.19 million members and pensioners in the first half of 2019 following the back-to-back implementation of Republic Acts 11220 (Expanded Maternity Leave Law or EMLL) and 11199 (Social Security Act of 2018) in May and June this year, respectively.
SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Aurora C. Ignacio said the pension fund is and will always be happy to provide meaningful social security protection to its members and pensioners in times of contingencies.
“This is indeed the purpose of the pension fund – to provide meaningful benefits to its members and pensioners. In the first half of 2019 alone, the number of beneficiaries and claims have already posted significant growth since the implementation of new laws and policies of the administration,” Ignacio said.
Of the total benefit payouts, both for Social Security and Employee’s Compensation, from January to June 2019, majority of the amount was released for retirement benefits worth P55.70 billion, an 8.6 percent increase from the P51.28 billion recorded in the same period last year. The number of retirement pensioners, including new pensioners, stood at 1.57 million for the said period.
This is followed by benefit payouts for death claims which increased by 4.8 percent from P27.32 billion in the first half of 2018 to P28.63 billion for the same period this year. Death claim beneficiaries for the said period were recorded at one million.
Moreover, the implementation of the EMLL in May this year further pushed the amount of benefits given to female beneficiaries in the first two quarters of 2019 to P4.13 billion or a 22.5 percent increase from the P3.37 billion released in the same period last year.
Disability and funeral benefit disbursements also increased by 7.8 percent at P3.59 billion and 9.7 percent or P2.14 billion, respectively in the first six-month period of 2019. Beneficiaries of disability and funeral benefits were recorded at 208,863.
Sickness benefit, given to more than 235,000 members also jumped by 14.9 percent from P1.32 billion in 2018 to P1.51 billion this year.
Further, operation expenses (OpEx) such as personnel services, maintenance and other operating expenses of the pension fund amounted to P4.51 billion or equivalent only to 36.4 percent of the allowed charter limit.
Thus, total expenditures of the pension fund for the combined benefit payouts and OpEx for the first semester of 2019 reached P100.21 billion, an 8.1 percent increase from the P92.72 billion recorded in the same period in 2018.
Meanwhile, total revenues of the pension fund on the January to June 2019 period rose by 20.9 percent to P115.53 billion from the P95.55 billion recorded in the same period last year.
Broken down, both contributions collections and investments and other income posted growth during the period at P99.08 billion and P16.45 billion, respectively.
“The contributions collected from January to June 2019 surpassed last year’s actual collections of P82 billion. This is primarily due to corporate collection efforts as well as the increase in the contribution rate and in the maximum and minimum salary credit effective April 2019,” Ignacio said.
“Further, our investment and other income bounced back this period driven by strong and favorable market conditions,” Ignacio added.
SSS’ financial condition stood strong at the end of the first semester with total assets reaching P542.27 billion or 6 percent higher than last year’s P511.47 billion.
“With our strong financial performance this semester, we are hoping to further strengthen the fund and ensure the continued service and providing for more and more members in the future until perpetuity. We hope that more workers, especially those who are self-employed, will save with SSS by religiously paying their monthly contributions,” Ignacio said.