SSS extends assistance to Pampanga quake victims
Mary Grace Padin (The Philippine Star) - May 18, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — State-run Social Security System (SSS) is offering assistance to members and pensioners who were affected by the 6.1-magnitude earthquake that shook Porac, Pampanga in April.

In a statement, SSS president and chief executive officer Aurora Ignacio said eligible members and pensioners may now apply for the pension fund’s Calamity assistance package (CAP) to help them with their financial needs following the earthquake that hit the municipality.

“The Social Security Commission, through Resolution 284-s.2019, approved the granting of assistance program to our members and pensioners affected by the earthquake in Porac, Pampanga which was declared under state of calamity by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC),” Ignacio said.

“We are hoping that this will help SSS members and pensioners recover the damages caused by the earthquake,” she said.

Under the package, qualified members may avail themselves of the calamity loan assistance program (CLAP), three-month advance pension, and the direct house repair and improvement loan.

CLAP, in particular, offers members a maximum loan amount equivalent to their monthly salary credit, which is payable in two years with an annual interest rate of 10 percent.

“The Commission also decided not to charge a service fee for this loan program to help our members,” Ignacio said.

To qualify, the applicant’s home address or property must be in Porac, Pampanga. The member must also have at least 36 months of contributions, six of which must have been paid within the 12-month period preceding the date of application.

“Qualified overseas Filipino worker and seafarer members who cannot file their loan applications personally may assign a representative, provided that they present an authorization letter,” Ignacio added.

She said members can still avail of the loan program even if they have unpaid obligations under the SSS’ regular salary loan.

However, she said members who still have outstanding loans under the SSS’ Loan Restructuring Program and previous calamity loans, as well as those who are receiving total permanent disability or retirement pensions are not qualified to avail of loan program.

Ignacio said social security and Employee’s Compensation pensioners may instead apply to receive their advance three-month pension.

The SSS chief said a Direct House Repair and Improvement Loan is also available for members with damaged houses due to the earthquake.

 The loan program has a six-month moratorium of amortization and interest payments, and an interest rate of eight or nine percent per annum, depending on the loan amount.

“Members can borrow a maximum amount of P1 million under the Direct House Repair and Improvement Loan. There is also no service fee for this program,” Ignacio said.

To qualify, the applicant must not be more than 60 years old, and have at least 24 monthly contributions, three of which must have been paid within the 12-month period prior to the filing the loan. Furthermore, the applicant and his or her spouse must be updated in paying their other existing loans with the SSS.

Members who have been previously granted a house repair loan or a final benefit by the SSS are no longer qualified to avail of the program.

According to Ignacio, members and pensioners have until Aug. 16, 2019 to apply for the CLAP and the three-month advance pension; and until May 15, 2020 for the house repair loan program.

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