The state-run Social Security System (SSS) over the weekend said members and pensioners affected by the series of earthquakes in Southern Mindanao may now avail of the Calamity Assistance Package.
SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Aurora C. Ignacio said that the pension fund will offer calamity loan and Direct House Repair and Improvement Loan for members, and advance three-month pension for pensioners starting November 18.
"It is unfortunate that the series of strong quakes greatly affected their daily living. That?s why we prioritized the immediate approval of granting calamity assistance to extend financial help to our members and pensioners in the affected areas," Ignacio said.
Qualified members and pensioners are those with home address or property in earthquake-stricken areas declared by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) under the state of calamity and who suffered losses or damages to their properties in calamity-stricken areas namely the provinces of Davao del Sur and North Cotabato; Kidapawan City; and the municipalities of Bansalan and Matanao in Davao del Sur, and the municipalities of Makilala and Tulunan in Cotabato.
The SSS has allotted more than P443 million worth of calamity loan to more than 54,000 potential borrowers residing in the earthquake-stricken areas.
To avail of the calamity loan, a member should have at least 36 monthly contributions, six of which should be paid within the 12 month period before the date of application. The loanable amount is equivalent to the one month salary credit (MSC) which is computed based on the average of the last 12 monthly salary credit (MSC) or the total amount of damages as certified by the member in the application form, rounded up to the nearest thousand, whichever is lower. Interested members are also required to be registered on My.SSS for billing purposes.
"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 further help our member-borrowers in reducing their expenses, the one percent service fee will be waived," Ignacio explained.
However, members who have been granted any final benefit claim such as total permanent disability or retirement, as well as those who have any outstanding balance under the Loan Restructuring Program (LRP) or previous calamity loan are not qualified to avail of the said loan program.
The SSS Chief also reiterated that OFW-members or seafarers who reside within the declared calamity area are also qualified to avail of the calamity loan. An authorization letter should be issued to their authorized representatives to apply for CLAP on their behalf.
"Member-applicants should also submit a Barangay Certification as proof that they are residents of the declared calamity area," added Ignacio.
Meanwhile, Social Security and Employees' Compensation pensioners whose residence are in the said calamity areas may apply for a three-month advance pension. Applicants should submit an application for Assistance Due to Calamity/Disaster duly-certified by the Barangay Chairman.
"However, retiree pensioners with existing pension loans are not qualified to apply for the advance three-month pension," Ignacio said.
Aside from the calamity loan, calamity- stricken members may also borrow up to a maximum of P1 million under the Direct House Repair and Improvement Loan Program, with an annual interest rate of eight percent for loan amounts up to P450,000 and nine percent for loan amounts for more than P450,000.
To qualify for Direct House Repair and Improvement Loan, an applicant must not be more than 60 years old and with at least 24 monthly contributions, in which three contributions are within the last 12-month period prior to the month of filing.
"According to NDRRMC reports, more than 37,000 houses in the declared calamity areas were either partially or totally damaged. I enjoin all qualified members of SSSS and pensioners to go to the nearest SSS branch so they can avail of this benefit", Ignacio concluded.
Filing of application for CLAP and advance-three month pension is until February 17, 2020, while Direct House Repair and Improvement Loan application is until November 17, 2020.