SSS Charter change seen completed this year

The Social Security System (SSS) is hopeful the proposal to amend its Charter will reach the bicameral conference committee by June and pass muster in Congress before the end of the year.

SSS President and CEO Emmanuel F. Dooc told financial reporters the bill sponsored by Sen. Richard J. Gordon, when passed, will enable the agency to hike contribution rates for the pension fund.

“The latest is it’s still with the committee of Senator Gordon. My understanding is that more than a dozen senators have already affixed their signature. If ever the report is approved and brought to the bicameral conference around June, I will have a chance,” Dooc said.

The Senate bill contains amendments to Republic Act 8282, or the Social Security Law, allowing the SSS the power to raise its member contribution rate, among others. The SSS does not have the authority to increase the contribution rate under itspresent charter.

When permitted, the state-run pension fund will implement a 1.5-percent increase in member contributions without getting an executive order from Malacañang.

The current monthly member contribution rate is only 11 percent but seen raised by 1.5 percent, 2 percent and up to 3 percent once the bill is passed. The increase in member contribution will extend the fund’s so-called actuarial life presently in danger of depletion in just a few years.

“If I can effect the increase, let’s say for one quarter, with the increase being 1.5 percent additional, I can collect a minimum of maybe P17 billion for one quarter. If the increase is at 3 percent, that will be close to P35 billion for one quarter,” he said.

Dooc added the increased collection from the higher contribution should cover the additional member benefits of some 2.2 million pensioners, as well as sustain the life of the fund.

Boosting the pension benefits of SSS members is among the election campaign promises made by President Duterte. The SSS is committed to helping him fulfill that promise. Last year the President approved the increase in pension for SSS members by P2,000 done under two tranches.

The first tranche of P1,000 has already been extended to member pensioners last year, while the second tranche is eyed for disbursement by 2019.

“His promise is [to give the additional benefit] during his term. I am sure we can help him achieve that,” Dooc said.

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Turning Points 2018