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State-run Social Security System (SSS) reported that loan releases to pensioners under the enhanced Pension Loan Program (PLP) reached the P3-billion mark, benefitting more than 105,000 pensioner-borrowers.

SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Aurora C. Ignacio said the increase in PLP disbursement was due to the enhancement of the program last October 2019 which allowed qualified retiree-pensioners to avail of up to a maximum amount equivalent of 12 times of their pension or about P200,000.

“We are happy to announce that we have already assisted a number of pensioners for their short-term and immediate financial needs preventing them from becoming victims of private loan sharks with steep interest rates and eventually giving their ATM cards as collateral," Ignacio said.

Launched in September 2018, the PLP aims to provide immediate financial assistance to pensioners who are in need of additional cash aside from their basic monthly pension (BMP).

SSS data showed that as of January 30, the pension fund has already released more than P3.53 billion to 105,365 retiree-pensioners who have availed of the enhanced PLP.

SSS Diliman branch released the highest amount of approved pension loan at P155.08 million for 4,388 approved applications while SSS Bacolod has the most number of approved applications with 5,137 amounting to P132.76 million loan releases.

Other branches that are included in the top five branches with the highest loan disbursements are SSS Cebu with 3,258 approved pension loans amounting to P112.99 million; SSS Bacoor branch with 2,576 approved pension loans which adds up to P94.30 million; SSS Davao with 2,882 approved pension loans for a total of P89.38 million.

“Now that they can borrow a larger amount, which depends on their qualifications, we are expecting an increase in the number of retiree-pensioners who will avail of the program in the coming days. We are glad that we are able to provide them the assistance they need in times of contingencies,” Ignacio said.

“Further, we would like to remind our qualified retiree pensioners that they may get  12 times of their BMP plus the P1000 additional benefit, provided that they will still be receiving a substantial amount from their BMP. We do not want their BMP to end up as full loan collaterals,  very different from those lending companies who get their whole monthly pension as payment for the loan,” she added.

Under the new guidelines, retiree pensioners who are 85 years and below at the end of the month of the loan term are now qualified to apply for the PLP, provided that they have no outstanding loan balance, benefit overpayment payable to SSS from his monthly pension. He must also have no existing advance pension under the SSS calamity package and must be receiving his regular monthly pension for at least one month and has an “active” status of pension.

Moreover, the enhanced PLP guidelines also gave the borrower a wider option of the loanable amount to choose from. From the previous minimum loanable amount of twice his BMP plus the P1,000 additional benefit, the pensioner-borrower may now apply for a loan equivalent to three times, six times, nine times or 12 times of his BMP plus the P1,000 additional benefit.

The repayment term was also adjusted as they may pay their obligations in six, 12 and 24 months with the first monthly amortization to be paid on the second month after loan was granted. 

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