THE state-run Social Security System (SSS) announced Thursday, January 9, that members and pensioners in Bicol Region who were devastated by Typhoon Tisoy last December may now apply for the Calamity Assistance Package (CAP).
SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Aurora Ignacio said affected members and pensioners in Naga City and provinces of Albay, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Masbate and Sorsogon may now avail themselves of Calamity Loan, Direct House Repair and Improvement Loan, and advance three-month pension for qualified pensioners from December 20, 2019 until March 19, 2020, except for the Direct House Repair and Improvement Loan.
"The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) has recently declared areas in Bicol region under the state of calamity (SOC) following the devastation of Typhoon Tisoy in December. Members and pensioners who were residents of the said areas may now avail [themselves] of the CAP as the program specifically caters to those who are placed under the SOC," Ignacio said.
"I know that most of our members and pensioners in Bicol have been waiting for this good news and we're glad to inform everyone that SSS is now ready to extend our financial assistance to them especially that they were directly affected by the said typhoon," Ignacio said.
Other areas declared under a state of calamity are Batangas City; Mabitac, Laguna; Provinces of Quezon, Cavite, Oriental Mindoro, Occidental Mindoro, Marinduque; Corcuera, Romblon and San Fernando in Romblon; and Province of Northern Samar.
The CAP is comprised of a loan assistance program that is a separate loan window from the regular salary loan. Members can borrow up to P20,000 in calamity loan, depending on the average of their monthly salary credit in the last 12 months. The financial assistance is also open to pensioners who can avail themselves of a three-month advance pension. Members can also apply for direct housing repair and improvement loan.
The calamity loan is payable in two years in equal monthly installments with an annual interest rate of 10 percent and a one percent penalty for late payments. To eliminate additional expenses on the part of member-borrowers, SSS waived the one percent service fee.
Applicants under the advance three-month pension 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.
"Members who would like to avail of the Calamity Assistance Package are required to be registered in the My.SSS application to facilitate their billing requirements in the future," Ignacio said.
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, and those who have availed themselves of the Pension Loan Program (PLP) are not qualified to avail of the calamity loan.
Aside from the calamity loan, members with damaged properties can also avail themselves 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, which will run for one year or until December 19, 2020.
To qualify, 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.
"Based on the latest NDRRMC Report, the onslaught of Typhoon Tisoy resulted to more than 346,000 damaged houses. This special program will greatly help our members in rebuilding their damaged properties," Ignacio concluded.
For more information, members and pensioners can visit the nearest SSS branch, contact the SSS Call Center hotline at 1455, or send an email to email@example.com. All application forms are downloadable from the SSS website at www.sss.gov.ph. (PR)