SSS pension to double under reform bill
STATE-RUN Social Security System (SSS) on Wednesday said the estimated monthly pension of a member with at least 30 paying years will nearly double if the coverable income is increased. The current maximum pension of P10,900 will increase to P20,300 by 2026 if the coverable income increases to P30,000 in five years as part of the proposed reform agenda. Similarly, benefits such as maternity, sickness, and funeral, which are also computed based on the monthly salary credit (MSC), will also increase once the reform agenda is implemented. SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Emmanuel F. Dooc said the proposed Social Security Reform Act of 2017, which is currently being deliberated at the committee level in the Senate, will improve the benefits for members and pensioners. “As we have proposed earlier, the adjustment in MSC should increase gradually every year to P20,000 next year, to P25,000 in 2020, and P30,000 in 2021. As we increase the coverable income or MSC, the benefits also increase because this is the basis for computation of SSS benefits,” Dooc said.
He explained that benefits are computed based on the member’s MSC and credited years of service (CYS) or the number of years he paid SSS contributions. Under the current maximum MSC of P16,000 and monthly contribution rate of 11 percent (shared by employer and employee for employed members), the maximum basic monthly pension is only P10,900 for a member who retires with at least 30 CYS. With the contribution rate increase and MSC ceiling adjustment to P30,000, sickness benefit per day of P480 based on the current maximum average daily salary credit of P533 will increase to P900. Likewise, maternity benefits for caesarian delivery will increase from P41,600 to P78,000 while those who will undergo normal birth will get P60,000 from the current P32,000 under the proposed P30,000 maximum MSC.
Moreover, funeral benefit for a member with at least 120 contributions at P30,000 MSC six months before death will increase to P38,000 from the current P29,600. Dooc earlier expressed hope that the increase in contribution will be implemented by January 2018, after the implementation of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) bill and the passage of the SS Reform Act of 2017. “We are really hoping for the passage of this bill, which according to Sen. (Richard) Gordon is a landmark bill. This will not only ensure the viability of the pension fund for the current and future members but it will also improve the benefits being enjoyed by our contributing-members. For a minimal increase in their monthly contribution, a potful will be added to their benefits and pension,” Dooc said. He said the economic managers in the Cabinet maintained that additional contributions are necessary to keep the state fund running, even with the pension increase. (PR)