SSS releases P58.5M in calamity assistance

THE state-run Social Security System (SSS) said more than P58.50 million was released to more than 5,700 members and pensioners who availed themselves of the Calamity Assistance Packages (CAPs) offered in 2019.

“It has been a heart-breaking year when typhoons and earthquakes hit and damaged the homes and affected the livelihood of our fellow Filipinos all over the country,” said SSS president and chief executive officer Aurora C. Ignacio.

She added: “True to our mandate in providing social security protection to Filipino workers, we are glad that in our own little way, we were able to provide assistance to those who were affected by natural disasters to help them recoup from their losses.”

The SSS, said Ignacio, provided five CAPs to 5,707 members and 25 pensioners.

As of Jan. 2, 2020, of the total disbursements for CAP, P58.19 million was allocated for calamity loans, while P308,000 was allocated for advance three-month pensions.

“For all the CAPs offered in 2019, we allocated more than P2.13 billion to assist at least 10 percent of the identified potential borrowers and pensioners that were affected by the calamities,” Ignacio said.

The CAP includes a loan assistance program, which is a separate loan window from the regular salary loan.

The SSS members can borrow up to P20,000 in calamity loans depending on their average monthly salary credit in the last 12 months. Financial assistance is also being offered to pensioners. They can apply for an advance three-month worth of their monthly pensions. Members can also apply for a direct housing repair and improvement loan.

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, the SSS waived the one percent service fee.

Applicants under the advance three-month pension whose present address differs from the address in the SSS database should submit a barangay certification to prove that they reside in a declared calamity area.

Aside from availing themselves of the calamity loan, calamity-stricken members with damaged houses can also avail themselves 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.

To qualify for direct house repair and improvement loan, 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 the loan.

Members who wish to avail of the direct housing repair and improvement loan are given a 12-month period starting from the implementation of the specific CAP they wish to avail.

“To our members who were not yet able to avail of the program, they may check our website, sss.gov.ph or visit the nearest SSS branch to know if they are still qualified to avail of the program. We hope that through the minimal financial assistance SSS can provide, they can immediately recover from their losses,” Ignacio said. (S)