The Social Security System (SSS) released a total of P7.21 billion in pension adjustments to over 154,000 qualified retirees in June this year, after the agency completed its special project on the manual verification and reposting of members’ contributions for the period 1985 to 1989.
The pension adjustments resulted from the management’s initiative in examining the lumped 1985-1989 contributions of members affected by a system upgrade in the late ‘80s. In the past, pensioners submitted individual requests for manual verification for possible pension adjustment. But in 2011, the SSS management created a special team which focused on all records of pensioners without the need for submission of an individual request and pay whoever is qualified for a pension adjustment.
“We initiated this project to give pensioners what is due them without demanding for it. We already sent out letters to qualified pensioners who received their pension adjustment last June. For others, they may call the SSS Hotline at (02) 920-6446 to 55 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org to verify the details of their pension adjustment, if any,” said SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Emilio S. de Quiros, Jr.
Not all pensioners are entitled to pension adjustments for there are members whose contributions for 1985 to 1989 were already manually verified during the processing of their benefit application. There were also cases where the reposting had no bearing on pension computation so there were no corresponding pension adjustments.
De Quiros said that 90 percent of the 154,357 retirees under the first tranche of pension adjustments received an average back payment per pensioner of P51,883, while the remaining 10 percent received P100 or less in accrued differential amounts which were disbursed along with their regular monthly pension.
“The average amount of monthly pension increase per pensioner for all 154,357 retirees covered by the first tranche of pension adjustments was P515. This also translates to an additional payout of P79.5 million per month,” he said.
The project to verify member’s contributions is ongoing so there will be future payments for qualified pensioners. The second tranche of pension adjustments for death and disability pensioners under the Social Security (SS) Program is scheduled in December 2016. The third tranche, which is for retirement, SS death and SS disability pensioners with a contingency date prior to May 24, 1997 as well as those with EC pension adjustments, is set in June 2017.
Meanwhile, the pension fund recorded a net income of P16.28 billion for the first six months of the year fueled by contribution collection and investment income. “Our net income would have been higher if not for the P7.21 billion in pension adjustments paid to qualified retirees last June,” De Quiros said.Contributions, which are considered the lifeblood of SSS, comprised 82 percent of total SSS revenues for the first half of 2016. Nearly 90 percent of contribution collections were remitted by employed members amounting to P61.41 billion, up nine percent from P56.45 billion for the first half of 2015.
“Stronger loan collections helped boost SSS investment income. The Loan Restructuring Program offered to borrowers with unpaid short-term member loans contributed P664.15 million in interest income since it was launched in April 28 this year. SSS income from housing loans also increased by 42 percent to P170 million due to improved collections from delinquent loan accounts,” de Quiros noted.
Six-month operating expenses almost remained flat from P4.06 billion last year to P4.38 billion in 2016 even with the absorption and hiring of service bureau personnel for special projects such as the reposting project for the 1985 to 1989 contributions.
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