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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Enhanced SSS program ensures pensions to rightful payees

Social Security System (SSS) pensioners will be required to report to their depository bank or any SSS branch starting this year to validate their eligibility to continue to receive pensions, a top official said.

SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Emilio de Quiros, Jr. said changes in the Annual Confirmation of Pensioners (ACOP) program, which the SSS introduced in 2004, aims to protect the fund from undue pension payments and fraudulent claims.

"The ACOP protects members’ contributions by ensuring the integrity of the SSS fund," he said. "We want SSS benefits to go to the right members and beneficiaries."

De Quiros said SSS will give special consideration to those unable to make a personal appearance, such as pensioners based overseas, under confinement or physically unable to travel due to health conditions or old age.

"We will accept requests for home visits and documents such as medical records and official certifications sent via mail or through representatives. Pensioners residing abroad only need to send the required documents," he said.

The institution provides lifetime pensions for retirement, total disability and death to over 1.6 million pensioners. Under the law, pensions are stopped when the member dies, recovers from disability or becomes re-employed if below age 65, or when the surviving spouse remarries.

"SSS will mail a notification letter two months before the member’s month of retirement, death or disability. Pensioners have three months, which will end on the last day of their contingency month, to make a one-day personal appearance at their savings bank or any SSS branch," De Quiros said.

The ACOP requires retiree pensioners and beneficiaries of deceased members to present their notification letter to their depository bank once a year. Total disability pensioners will present SSS’ letter and report to any SSS branch for a yearly medical check-up.

"Those receiving pension checks must present their letter to the SSS office nearest them as ACOP compliance," De Quiros said.

After SSS stopped the ACOP in 2006, pensioners with ATM pension accounts change their PIN code at their depository bank every year while total disability pensioners go to SSS for an annual physical examination.

"SSS requires banks to submit an annual list of pension accounts without any withdrawal for the past 12 months, which we use to investigate if a pensioner still exists," De Quiros said. Sigfredo Ibay, SSS

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