SSS: No fund for pension increase

CLAIMING that its P45.5-billion net revenue in 2014 is not enough to increase pensions, the Social Security System on Thursday rejected the proposed P2,000 monthly pension hike for 1.9-million retirees with a total of P49.5 billion in pension disbursement for its year of implementation.

SSS officials Marissu Bugante, SSS vice president for public affairs and special events, and George Ongkeko Jr., vice president and chief actuary, said that if Congress passes House Bill 5842, it would shorten the fund life of SSS by 13 years or until 2029, and would even negatively impact on its 32-million active members.

“We are not [actually] against the pension increase, but we need to ensure the agency’s long-term viability,” Bugante said.

“We would like to let the members understand that the P2,000 across-the-board increase for 1.9 -million pensioners every month would only shorten the life of SSS from our previous projection of 27 years or until 2042 to 13 years or until 2029,” she told reporters at a news forum in Quezon City.

“Thirteen years is too short a time for us,” she added, appealing to Congress to look into the studies and statistics of SSS before considering the passage of the measure authored by Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares.

If the bill is passed, SSS would fall short of P4 billion in its first year of implementation, she said.

“Based on our studies done by our actuarial department, SSS would need P49.5 billion because of the increase. For the full period of 2014, SSS just earned a net revenue of P45.5 billion,” she added.

In addition, the measure has no clear provision on the fund source, she noted. “Where do we get the money to fund the pension increase?” she asked, adding the hike would jeopardize the welfare of the agency’s 32 million active SSS members, she said.

“We also want an increase for the pensioners, but not a legislated one,” she said. “To the active members, this must also be your concern because what we are talking about is the issue of your future pension.”

According to Bugante, SSS implemented a 5 percent across-the-board pension on its own initiative.

She said there must be an adjustment in the rate of the monthly contributions of the 32 million members “from time to time” to pave the way for an increase in the pension for retired employees in the private sector.

According to SSS, to be able to provide the 1.9 million retirees with the P2,000 across-the-board monthly pension, there is a need to increase the monthly contributions of the 32 million active members by 44 percent.

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