The Social Security System (SSS) has started refunding loan payments made by pensioners and expects to return P105 million in compliance with the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan II).

The pension fund is giving back between one and two months’ worth of collected loan payments to borrowers that took out pensions in 2020, it said in a statement Friday.

SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Aurora C. Ignacio said the refunds will be granted to more than 25,000 borrowers.

The refunds are in accordance with Circular No. 2022-002 which was issued in compliance with Bayanihan II, also known as Republic Act 11494.

The law directed financial institutions to grant a 30-day grace period for borrowers’ loan payments without penalty or interest. The provision covered loan payments falling due between Sept. 15 and Dec. 31, 2020.

“We understand the predicament faced by our borrowers which is why they opted to seek loans from SSS to further finance their medical and immediate financial concerns,” Ms. Ignacio said.

Launched in 2018, the pension loan program gives access to short-term credit for retirees at an annual interest rate of 10%. These borrowings are payable in six, 12 or 24 months.

Pensioners that were making payments as of the implementation date as well as those that started payments in October 2020 will be eligible for the refund. They will receive refunds on loan payments made for October and November 2020.

Those who only started making loan payments in December 2020 are entitled to a one-month refund for that month.

Qualified pensioners will automatically get the refund credited to their respective accounts, in line with the refund procedure observed in Bayanihan I.

“SSS would also extend the pensioner’s loan payment term by one or two months without any additional interest or penalty. Suppose a pensioner’s loan payment term is until September 2021 and received a two-month refund; their payment terms will be until November 2021 without any interest or penalty,” the SSS said.

In 2021, the SSS extended P3.09 billion in loans to more than 69,000 pensioners. – Luz Wendy T. Noble