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LOANS, UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS

SSS assistance to members hits P15.8B

/ 04:03 AM August 05, 2020

The state-run pension fund Social Security System (SSS) has extended more than P15.8 billion in loans and unemployment insurance benefits to its members amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Finance (DOF) said Tuesday. In a statement, the DOF quoted SSS president and chief executive Aurora Cruz-Ignacio as saying that they already green-lit P15.6 billion under their calamity loan assistance program (CLAP).

These approved loans covered more than 1.03 million applications made online since June 15, Ignacio said. Up to 1.7 million members nationwide may borrow up to P20,000 through CLAP until Sept. 14. This loan program was delayed when the SSS prioritized releasing the small business wage subsidy at the height of the COVID-19 lockdown.

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“The calamity loan for COVID-19 carries a 6-percent interest [a year] commencing on the fourth month with a 27-month term, inclusive of a 3-month moratorium,” Ignacio noted. In line with the instructions of Finance Secretary and Social Security Commission (SSC) Chair Carlos G. Dominguez III for the SSS to digitize its system in order to speed up the grant of loans and benefits to its members, starting June 28, CLAP claims were released via check-less disbursement using Development Bank of the Philippines PesoNet-accredited banks, Ignacio added. On top of loans, the SSS also disbursed P190.02 million in unemployment insurance benefits during the month of July with the approval of 14,186 applications from currently jobless members.

Republic Act No. 11199 or the Social Security Act of 2018, which took effect last year, put in place unemployment benefits for the SSS’s premium- paying members, equivalent to half of their average monthly salary credit for a maximum of two months. Due to quarantine movement restrictions, applications for unemployment benefits were also being accepted online. —BEN O. DE VERA INQ

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