SSS’ pension loan releases hit P1B-mark

PENSION loan releases of state-run Social Security System (SSS) on Monday hit the P1 billion mark with nearly 42,000 availees since it implemented the Pension Loan Program (PLP) last September 2018.

SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Aurora C. Ignacio said while the program has met its objective to provide immediate financial assistance to its pensioners for their short-term and emergency needs, she urged pensioners to be vigilant and avoid transacting with “fixers” for their SSS transactions, especially for the PLP.

“We are pleased to note that our pensioners are now relying on SSS for their immediate financial needs instead of going to loan sharks. But sad to say, there are people who take advantage of our pensioners during their times of need. This has to stop.  And this will only stop if our pensioners will no longer entertain any deal with these individuals who exploit them,” she added.

SSS received an incident report last month from its Bacolod branch that 15 pensioners fell victims to unscrupulous fixers whose modus operandi was to advance portions of their approved SSS pension loan then ran away with the pensioners’ cash cards.  The pensioners filed a case against the suspects with the National Bureau of Investigation last April 24.

“We urge our retiree-pensioners to be vigilant. Do not transact with non-SSS employees. Those who want to avail of the pension loan must personally apply in our branch offices nationwide,” Ignacio said.

Meanwhile, as of 27 May, PLP releases reached P1.006 billion with 41,926 pensioner-borrowers for the nearly eight-month period of its implementation.  SSS started offering PLP in September last year in celebration of its 61st founding anniversary and is set to provide emergency loan assistance for retiree-pensioners.

Data showed that Bacolod branch has the most number of approved loan applications at 2,696 and the highest amount of disbursed pension loan at P56.76  million. This was followed by Diliman branch with 2,177 approved loan applications for P56.09  million amount of pension loan; Cebu branch with 1,547 availees for P38.42  million pension loan releases; and Victorias branch in Bacolod City with  1,733 availees for  P36.48 million pension loan.

Further, of the total number of approved loan applications, majority of the pensioners or 92.16 percent preferred to pay their pension loan for 12 months followed by some 6.25 percent who chose to pay within six months while the remaining 1.59 percent opted to pay within a three-month period.

In early March, SSS relaxed its guidelines for more than 1.2 million qualified retiree pensioners so that those who are receiving their monthly pension even for just a month and is already posted in the system, is already qualified to avail of the SSS pension loan.

Previously, a retiree pensioner must be receiving his monthly pension for at least six months to qualify for the pension loan.

Further, the new guidelines for PLP application also allowed the presentation of other government-issued identifications cards aside from the Social Security Card or Unified Multi-Purpose Identification (UMID) card as a form of identification.

Members may also present the following cards as a form of their identification: Alien Certificate of Registration issued by Bureau of Immigration; Driver’s License issued by Land Transportation Office; Firearm Registration, License to Own and Process Firearms, and Permit to Carry Firearms Outside of Residence from the Philippine National Police; National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Clearance; Passport; Postal Identity Card, Seafarer’s Identification and Record Book (Seaman’s Book); and Voter’s ID Card.

“In absence of a primary ID Card/document, the filer shall present, submit any two valid ID cards/documents, both with signature and at least one with photo,” the guidelines read.