The Social Security System (SSS) unveiled a calamity relief package consisting of early renewal of salary loans and easier house repair loan terms as well as the advanced release of pensions for members affected by heavy rains and widespread floods caused by Tropical Storm “Maring” and the southwest monsoon or “habagat.”
In a press statement issued recently, SSS Vice President May Catherine Ciriaco, Officer-in-Charge of the SSS Lending and Asset Management Division, said the SSS relief package is extended to members in calamity areas officially declared by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), which at present includes the provinces of Bataan, Pampanga, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal; the cities of Paraňaque, Muntinlupa, Malabon, Marikina, Pasay, Tarlac, Candon and Dagupan; as well as several municipalities and barangays in parts of Metro Manila and Luzon.
“We shall also consider all other areas that may later be declared under a state of calamity by the NDRRMC due to the effects of the recent ‘habagat’ and Tropical Storm ‘Maring,’” Ciriaco said. “The calamity relief package will provide members needed funds for basic and immediate needs such as food, clothing and medicines. It can also help them rebuild or reconstruct their damaged houses or re-establish their sources of livelihood.”
Under the calamity relief package, affected members can avail themselves of the Salary Loan Early Renewal Program (SLERP) wherein they can renew their existing salary loan earlier than the prescribed date based on regular SSS loan guidelines, which is one year after the date of loan release. As special consideration, the SLERP also provides the lifting of current sanctions imposed on borrowers in affected areas who had earlier availed themselves of the SSS Loan Penalty Condonation Program.
“The one percent service fee will also be waived under the SLERP. The net amount of the loan shall be the difference between the approved loan amount and the previous loan balance, and affected members have until October 31, 2013 to apply under this program at the SSS branch nearest them,” she said.
Ciriaco said the second component of the calamity relief package is the reduction of annual interest rates under the SSS Direct House Repair and/or Improvement Loan by two percentage points from the regular SSS rates of eight percent for loans worth P400,000 and below, and nine percent for higher loan amounts. To be eligible, the member must be 60 years old or below and has a minimum of 24 monthly contributions, at least three of which are within the 12-month period immediately prior to the month of filing their application.
“In effect, the applicable interest rates for the affected members will only be six percent or seven percent, depending on their loanable amount. The loan must be solely used for house repair and improvement,” she said. “Our regular processing fee of up to P3,000 will be waived, and affected members are given one year from the date of issuance of the corresponding SSS Circular to file their applications. This should give them enough time to gather the needed documents.”
The third component of the SSS calamity relief package is the advanced release of three months’ worth of pensions for retirement, disability and death survivorship pensioners who reside in the calamity areas. Covered pensioners who will file their applications on or before August 31, 2013 will get in advance their pensions for the months of October, November and December 2013.
“Those filing their applications within the month of September will get their November and December 2013 and January 2014 pensions in advance. The deadline of application will be on September 30, 2013,” Ciriaco noted. “Affected pensioners only need to submit the duly accomplished application form, with a certification from their respective barangay chairman as proof of their residence in the declared calamity area.”
Meanwhile, the SSS also opened the SLERP and the reduced interest rates for house repair and improvement loans to members affected by Typhoon “Labuyo,” which struck parts of Luzon within the first half of August 2013. The NDRRMC-declared calamity areas due to “Labuyo” include Candelaria, Sta. Cruz and Masinloc municipalities in Zambales province; Dinalungan, Casiguran and Dilasag municipalities in Aurora province; and Quirino province.
The terms and deadlines of SLERP and loan applications for members affected by “Labuyo” are the same as those under the calamity relief package for “Maring.” Application forms may be requested from SSS branches or downloaded from the SSS website at http://www.sss.gov.ph.