SSS seeks EO for release of additional pension
State-run Social Security System (SSS) is seeking the issuance of an executive order or the enactment of a bill to amend its charter to authorize the release of the second tranche of pension increase to its members.
SSS president and chief executive officer Emmanuel Dooc stressed the P1,000 additional pension benefit can only be granted through either these measures as the state fund currently has no authority to increase pension.
“We do not have the power to give an additional P1,000 benefit by next year. The SSC (Social Security Commission) does not have the power to adjust the contribution rate or amount of monthly pension, only the President of the Republic and Congress have the power to approve a pension increase,” Dooc said.
Dooc, however, said the SSS would ensure the second tranche of the increase will be implemented before President Duterte’s term ends.
“Just like what I have said earlier, our goal here in SSS is to see to it that we are able to release the second tranche still within the term of President Duterte, which can be approved in 2022 during his last year in office,” he said.
Dooc added the increase in pension should also have a corresponding increase in the contribution rate of members, or adjustment in the minimum and maximum monthly salary credits in the SSS.
Dooc said this upward adjustment in contribution is vital for the continued viability of the pension fund.
“This is important to support the viability of the pension fund and to assure our current members that the SSS will still be there in their times of contingencies to appease our current members,” he said.
President Duterte last year approved the P1,000 increase in SSS pension benefits. The second tranche, or another P1,000 increase, is slated by 2022, or the end of Duterte’s term.
Labor groups pressed the national government to provide budget for the state-run pension fund.
The Federation of Free Workers (FFW) said the government should follow its commitment to include SSS in the annual budget as provided under the law.
FFW said the law allows Congress to annually appropriate funds for the operation of the SSS and enable it to meet estimated yearly expenses.
Congress may also appropriate funds needed to assure the maintenance of an adequate working balance of the funds of the SSS, the FFW said.
Dooc said the pension fund has already shelled out an additional P33 billion in 2017 following the implementation of the first tranche of increase.
He said this amount will be higher for the second tranche as the number of pensioners increase every year by an average of 100,000.
After implementing the first tranche of the additional benefit in 2017, Dooc said the SSS fund life had dropped from 2042 to 2032.
He said this will be further reduced by seven years or until 2026 should the second tranche of additional pension be implemented in 2019 without any increased funding.
On the other hand, the SSS last year was able to improve its collections by 10.6 percent to P159 billion from P144 billion the previous year.
“We recorded P159 billion in contribution collection in 2017. This shows that our efforts to collect from employers and individual members have become effective. For 2018, we aim to improve collection further by around 18 to 20 percent over last year,” Dooc said.