THE Social Security System (SSS) said it will allow greater access to its Pension Loan Program (PLP) by relaxing some requirements for applicants.
In a statement over the weekend, the SSS said it is now allowing retirees with at least one month posted regular pension and active member status to avail of the lending facility.
“If they are receiving their regular monthly pension for only a month and it is already posted in the system, they are already qualified to avail of the pension loan,” SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Emmanuel F. Dooc was quoted as saying in the statement.
Previously, the program admitted only retirees that had received six months’ worth of pensions. Apart from the expanded eligibility, the new guidelines for PLP applications allow the use of other government-issued identification cards such as driver’s licenses, National Bureau of Investigation clearances, passports and Voter’s IDs, among others.
The SSS launched the loan program on Sept. 3 amid growing demand from senior citizens for cheap loans — particularly for emergency medical expenses — and steer them away from usurers and other informal lenders.
Pensioners can avail of a minimum loan equal to twice the size of the basic monthly pension, with a ceiling of P32,000.
The loans will be charged a 10% interest rate, and is payable within three, six, or 12 months, deductible from the monthly pension payments. Deductions will start two months after the loan is granted to the SSS member.
As of end-February, the pension fund has released P638.33 million in loans to qualified pensioners.
The SSS Bacolod branch has the most number of approved PLP applications with 1,982 accounts amounting to more than P41.53 million. On the other hand, the Diliman branch posted the top volume of pension loans at P41.8 million.
“We hope that our pensioners opt to avail of the SSS pension loan in times of emergency expenses,” Mr. Dooc said.
“Aside from the low interest rate, we also make sure that they will still receive a portion of their monthly pension so that not all of it goes to loan repayment which is the case when they borrow from loan sharks.” — Karl Angelo N. Vidal