The state-run Social Security System (SSS) on Tuesday said Pension Loan Program (PLP) releases to retiree pensioners jumped by more than 50 percent month-on-month in March on the back of procedural enhancements approved by the Social Security Commission.
SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Aurora C. Ignacio said the P97.748 million approved loan amount disbursed to 4,081 retiree pensioners in February increased by 53.8 % to P150.34 million last month.
“We are glad that we were able to reach more pensioners thru the Pension Loan Program with the enhanced guidelines. The program will truly serve its purpose of providing for the short-term financial needs of our retiree pensioners,” Ignacio said. The report on the spike on the pension loan availment was discussed in the SS Commission meeting last week.
In early March, SSS relaxed its guidelines for more than 1.2 million retiree pensioners so that those who are receiving their monthly pension even for just a month, is already qualified to avail of the SSS pension loan. In the old rule, a retiree-pensioner must be receiving his monthly pension for at least six months to qualify for the pension loan.
Further, with the new guidelines for PLP application, other government-issued identification cards aside from the Social Security card (SS card) or Unified Multi-Purpose Identification (UMID) card may now be used as a form of identification.
The following are acceptable identification cards: 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 the absence of a primary ID card/document, the applicant shall present and submit any two valid ID cards bearing a signature and a photo of the applicant.
As of end March, SSS pension loan releases reached P788.664 million to more than 32,872 retiree pensioners. Among the 166 branches receiving PLP applications, Bacolod branch approved the most number of PLP applications at 2,240 and released more than P47.16 million. Diliman branch, on the other, released the highest amount of pension loans amounting to P48.08 million to more than 1,861 pensioners for the said period.
The top three branches with the most number of approved PLP applications were Victoria branch in Bacolod; Cebu branch; and Bago branch.
PLP was launched in September last year in celebration of the 61st anniversary of the pension fund and was intended to be offered to retiree pensioners for a period of one year only. But now, PLP has become a permanent loan facility of SSS under Republic Act 11199 or the Social Security Act of 2019 which took effect last March 2019.
With only 10 percent interest per annum, PLP offers lower interest rate compared with high-interest loan offerings of some financial institutions.
Meanwhile, Ignacio cautioned pensioners from dealing with fixers. “Some of our branches received reports that pensioners were asked to pay as much as P2,500 as commission for the processing of their loan application with SSS. This has to stop. SSS does not charge processing fees for its pension loan application. Those who want to avail of the pension loan must personally apply in our branch offices nationwide. Avoid transacting with fixers who promise to hasten your loan application but would take a pay cut from your loan proceeds,” she said.
“In view of the stringent rules of the Data Privacy Law, we would like to stress that SSS employees or officials are precluded from extracting information of pensioners through any social media platform like Facebook and Twitter,” Ignacio added.