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SSS eyes options on 2nd tranche of pension hike

The Social Security System is not closing the possibility of implementing the second half of the P2,000 pension increase, but this is being studied carefully since contributions have dropped during the pandemic, the pension fund’s top official said.

SSS president and chief executive officer Aurora Cruz Ignacio said a lot of SSS members were not able to pay their contributions, which was attributed to job losses and movement restrictions.

“We are studying this (implementation of the second tranche of pension hike) because under the law, SSS funds should be actuarially sound before we implement it,” Ignacio said.

Only P1,000 additional increase in SSS pensions was implemented in 2019 out of the total P2,000 hike.

The state pension fund for private workers deferred the implementation of the second half this year after weighing its impact on the agency’s actuarial life.

Ignacio said the contribution increase they implemented last year is a “big help” in boosting SSS’ funds, but the agency has to extend several benefits to its members such as calamity loans and unemployment benefit packages due to the pandemic.

“We are now managing our funds because contributions are declining. We want to cover them (pensioners) that’s why we extended the contribution payments to collect these,” she added.

Ignacio said SSS members have until November 30 to pay unpaid contributions on account of the movement restrictions implemented by the government to help address the rising coronavirus disease 2019 infections.

She said members who would pay before the extended contribution payment deadline would not be slapped with penalty on their dues.

“We will not also record gaps in your contribution unlike before. This time, we allowed that gap but you need to pay your contribution until Nov. 30,” she added.