SSS offers calamity assistance to Karding victims

Social Security System (SSS) on Thursday said nearly 459,000 members and pensioners of the state-run pension fund affected by tropical cyclone Karding last August may now apply for the Calamity Assistance Program (CAP) which has a fund allocation of more than P549 million.

SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Emmanuel F. Dooc said members affected by severe flooding in Central Luzon and Rizal may avail of the calamity loan, direct house repair and improvement loan while affected pensioners may advance their three months worth of pension under the CAP.

“The wet season has been affecting our members and pensioners with the large volume of rainfall experienced last August during the devastation of tropical cyclone Karding. We want our members to know that the SSS is ready to assist them particularly in times of contingencies,” Dooc said.

SSS members and pensioners residing in areas declared under a state of calamity by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) are qualified to avail of the calamity loan, direct housing repair and improvement loan, and three-month advance pension.

NDRRMC declared areas under a state of calamity due to tropical cyclone Karding were: Sto. Tomas, Pampanga; Sasmuan, Pampanga; Guagua, Pampanga; Bulacan province; Rodriguez, Rizal; San Mateo, Rizal; and Lacub, Abra.

Under the CAP, the SSS offers a loan assistance program, which is a separate loan window from the regular salary loan. Members can borrow up to P16,000 in calamity loan depending on their monthly salary credit.

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 eliminate additional expenses on the part of member-borrowers, SSS waived the one percent service fee.

To qualify for SSS calamity loan, members should have a home address or property in the covered areas and a minimum of 36 monthly contributions, six of which should be paid within the 12-month period preceding the date of application. Applicants who cannot file their loan applications personally such as Overseas Filipino Workers may assign a representative to file their application, provided an authorization letter is presented to SSS.

The SSS Chief, however, clarified that members who still have outstanding loans under the Loan Restructuring Program (LRP) and previous CAPs, as well as those receiving pensions for total permanent disability and retirement are not qualified to avail of the calamity loan.

A financial assistance is also open to SSS pensioners who can advance three months of worth of their monthly pension. SSS pensioners whose present address differs from the address in the SSS database, should submit a barangay certification to prove that they reside in a declared calamity area.

Dooc said more than 255,000 paying members and 204,000 pensioners of the pension fund were affected by tropical cyclone Karding. SSS allocated some P255.2 million for possible loan exposure and another P294.8 million for possible disbursements for the advanced three-month pension.

Aside from the calamity loan, calamity-stricken members with damaged homes can also avail of the direct house repair and Improvement loan with six months moratorium in amortization and interest payments. Members can borrow up to a maximum of P1 million under this program.

To qualify for direct house repair and improvement loan, the applicant must not be more than 60 years old and with at least 24 monthly contributions, of which three contributions were remitted within the last 12-month period prior to the month of filing the loan.

Members and pensioners may start to file their CAP applications today until Dec. 10.

For more information, members and pensioners can visit the nearest SSS branch, contact the SSS Call Center hotline at 920-6446 to 55, or send an email to member_relations@sss.gov.ph. The application forms are downloadable from the SSS website at www.sss.gov.ph.