The Social Security System Bacolod Branch has the highest amount of approved pension loans at P89.36 million for 2,649 pensioners, in the first eight months of this year.
SSS Cebu placed second with P44.87 million approved pension loans for 962 borrowers, the Davao Branch with P38.26 million approved pension loans for 930 borrowers, Bacoor with P37.38 million for 722 borrowers, and SSS Antipolo with P33.45 million for 651 borrowers.
The SSS approved over P1.923 billion in loans under its enhanced Pension Loan Program (PLP) from January to August 2021, benefitting 43,424 retirement pensioners.
SSS president and chief executive officer, Aurora Ignacio, said that this year’s approved pension loans were down by 17 percent, compared to the P2.311 billion approved for the same period last year.
“We can attribute the decrease to the lower number of pensioner-borrowers this year,” Ignacio said, adding that there were 43,424 pensioner-borrowers from January to August 2021, or 15 percent lower than the 51,121 borrowers in 2020.
It was partly due to the restricted mobility for senior citizens, brought by the quarantine protocols, and some of them are still repaying their pension loans granted to them last year, she added.
The PLP was launched in September 2018, and aims to assist retirement pensioners in their financial needs and prevent them from becoming victims of private loan sharks with higher interest rates and with their ATM cards as collateral.
Ignacio encourages retirement pensioners to avail of the PLP since it is designed to help them in their short-term financial needs.
“We recognize that they need financial assistance to help augment their daily expenses especially that we are in a pandemic. PLP can help cover expenses for their medicines, vitamins, and other healthcare needs,” she added.
Under the program, qualified retirement pensioners can avail of a loan equivalent to three, six, nine, or 12 times their basic monthly pension (BMP) plus the P1,000-additional benefit.
The loanable amount should not exceed P200,000, and the net take-home pension of the borrower should be at least 47.25 percent.
A pension loan equivalent to three and six times the pensioner’s BMP, plus the P1,000-additional benefit, will have a payment term of six and 12 months, respectively, while a pension loan equivalent to nine or 12 times the BMP, plus the P1,000 additional benefit, will have a 24-month payment term.
Pension loans will incur an interest rate of 10 percent per year until fully paid, computed on a diminishing principal balance. It has a lower interest rate than those being offered outside with an interest rate as high as 20 percent, SSS said in a press release yesterday. “And unlike some private loan institutions, SSS will not ask pensioner-borrowers to surrender their ATM cards with their monthly pension to ensure loan payments.”
To qualify, a retirement pensioner must be 85 years old or below at the end of the last month of the loan term, has no outstanding loan balance and benefit overpayment payable to SSS, no existing advance pension under the SSS Calamity Assistance Package, and must receive their regular monthly pension for at least one month with an “active” status.
Those qualified for renewal can now submit their applications online using the My.SSS Member Portal, which can be found on the SSS website at www.sss.gov.ph.
The SSS, meanwhile, added the PLP and Retirement Benefit Modules in the ExpreSSS e-Learning (ExSSSel) Portal in June and September 2021, respectively, and its 1.8 million retirement pensioners can access more detailed information about these programs.
“We know the vulnerability of our pensioners to the COVID-19 virus. This is why the SSS gave them an opportunity to pursue an additional e-learning experience at the comfort of their homes, anytime and anywhere,” Ignacio said.
Members and other individuals can go to http://bit.ly/ExSSSeL_Portal to register. After selecting a module, they will receive an online registration form via Google Form for them to fill out, she added. | NND