After 27 years, the Social Security System (SSS) has finally released P7.21 billion in cash benefits for over 154,000 pensioners.
In a statement, the SSS said the P7.21-billion pension adjustments were made for more than 154,000 retirees who failed to get correct monthly pensions due to “computer glitches” from 1985 to 1989.
The huge amount of pension adjustments was fully given to the SSS retirees last June.
The pension fund noted that the release was done only this year since the agency needed to complete its “special project on the manual verification and reposting of members’ contributions for the period 1985 to 1989.”
“The pension adjustments resulted from the management’s initiative in examining the lumped 1985-1989 contributions of members affected by a system upgrade in the late 1980s,” it explained.
Despite the extreme delay in the release of the SSS pensioners’ monetary benefits, the SSS said: “We initiated this project to give pensioners what is due them without demanding for it.”
It, however, clarified that “[n]ot all pensioners are entitled to pension adjustments for there are members whose contributions for 1985 to 1989 were already manually verified during the processing of their benefit application.”
“There were also cases where the reposting had no bearing on pension computation so there were no corresponding pension adjustments,” the pension fund said.
SSS President Emilio de Quiros pointed out that only 90 percent of the 154,357 retirees under the first tranche of pension adjustments received an average back payment per pensioner of P51,883.
The remaining 10 percent of members got P100 or less in accrued differential amounts, which were disbursed along with their regular monthly pension.
The average amount of monthly pension increases per pensioner for all 154,357 retirees covered by the first tranche of pension adjustments was P515, according to the SSS.
This also translates to an additional payout of P79.5 million per month.
The verification project of the SSS is ongoing, so there will be future payments for qualified pensioners, the pension fund said.
The SSS said the second tranche of pension adjustments for death and disability pensioners under the Social Security (SS) Program is scheduled for December 2016.
The third tranche, which is for retirement, SS death and SS disability pensioners with a contingency date prior to May 24, 1997 as well as those with EC pension adjustments, is set for June 2017.
NELSON S. BADILLA