THE Social Security System (SSS) said going ahead with a plan to expand benefits for retirees affected by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic will likely erode the pension fund’s finances.
In a Laging Handa briefing Thursday, SSS President Aurora C. Ignacio said the pension fund is considering the proposal from legislators and senior citizen groups to expand such pensions by P1,000 a month, but warned that the fund’s financial position could deteriorate if such a plan goes through.
“Pinag-aaralan po siya dahil ang ating requirement sa batas ay kailangan actuarially sound ang pondo po ng SSS. And right now, sa pag-aaral natin ay hindi siya makakabuti sa pondo ng SSS in the coming years (We are studying it because the law requires that the SSS be actuarially sound. Based on our studies, this might not be good for the fund in the coming years),” she said.
Senior Citizens Party-list Representative Rodolfo M. Ordanes in House Resolution No. 1366 called for the immediate release of the second tranche of pension increases. The first tranche was approved in 2017 while the second was supposed to take effect in 2019.
A little over two million pensioners will benefit from the hike, which Mr. Ordanes added that the approval is necessary since they are vulnerable not only to the ongoing pandemic but also the recent events of typhoons and flooding.
In a letter addressed to the Palace dated Nov. 18, Mr. Ordanes said the expanded pension benefit “would not just greatly lighten the economic difficulties that our around two million senior citizen pensioners are facing today but would even determine the survival of some of them who depend on the additional P1,000 for their subsistence.”
Due to the COVID-19 crisis, Ms. Ignacio said the SSS expects benefit payouts to outstrip contributions, which will shorten the pension fund’s actuarial life. — Gillian M. Cortez