MANILA, Philippines – The Social Security System (SSS) has disbursed P1.72 billion in salary loans to members hit by a string of calamities.
Conceived in 2013, the relief assistance program has already benefited more than 92,000 members adversely affected by the Zamboanga armed conflict, Bohol earthquake, and typhoons in 2013 and 2014.
The SSS likewise advanced more than P332 million in pensions to more than 21,000 pensioners affected by the calamities.
The state pension fund started receiving applications from members affected by Typhoon Ruby last Dec. 15.
Qualified members can avail of salary and housing loans, or get in advance their three-months worth of pensions, said SSS vice president and officer in charge for lending and asset management division May Catherine C. Ciriaco.
Only active members and regular pensioners living or working in areas that had been declared under a state of calamity by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) can apply under the program. These areas at present include San Pablo City, Laguna; Batangas; Albay; Camarines Sur; Catanduanes; Masbate; Naga City; Sorsogon City; municipalities of Juban, Gubat, Magallanes in Sorsogon; Northern Samar and Eastern Samar.
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“SSS members who are facing short-term cash needs can apply for salary loans with waived service fee. If they have existing loans, they can renew it under the Salary Loan Early Renewal Program (SLERP) as long as they are eligible in terms of contributions based on our regular loan guidelines,” Ciriaco said.
In addition, borrowers who availed of the penalty condonation program can apply in SLERP.
“The loans will be charged the existing rate of 10 percent annually until fully paid. It is payable for two years and will incur a penalty of one percent per month if not paid on due date,” Ciriaco explained.
The calamity assistance also extends to pensioners who can avail in advance their pensions for three months. A barangay certificate is needed to attest their residency in a declared calamity area except for those whose address in the SSS database is among those in the NDRRMC list.
“Members whose houses were damaged by the typhoon can get cash funds from our SSS House Repair and Direct Improvement Loan under this program, which is only offered at six percent per annum, a three-percent decrease from the existing rate,” Ciriaco said.