My husband, an SSS pensioner, died last year. Before his death, we were already separated for more than five years. He had a live-in partner and they had three illegitimate sons. When I applied for his death claim/pension, I also declared his three illegitimate sons.
My application was approved by the SSS including that of my husband’s illegitimate children. When I received the pension, my son and I who are legitimate dependents received only 20 percent of the pension while the other 80 percent went to his three illegitimate sons. My question is: How come the SSS favored my husband’s illegitimate sons against me and my son? Please enlighten me.
Under Republic Act (RA) 8282 or the Social Security System Law (SSS Law), upon the death of a member who has paid at least 36 monthly contributions prior to the semester of his death, his primary beneficiaries shall be entitled to the monthly pension. If the member has no primary beneficiaries, his secondary beneficiaries shall be entitled to a lump sum benefit equivalent to 36 times the monthly pension. If the member has not paid the required 36 monthly contributions, his primary or secondary beneficiaries shall be entitled to a lump sum benefit equivalent to the monthly pension times the number of monthly contributions paid to the SSS or 12 times the monthly pension, whichever is higher (Section 13, RA 8282).
The same law provides for the qualified beneficiaries as the dependent spouse until he or she remarries, the dependent legitimate, legitimated or legally adopted and illegitimate children, who shall be the primary beneficiaries of the member. The share of the qualified illegitimate children is fifty percent (50 percent) of the share of the legitimate, legitimated or legally adopted children. In the absence of the dependent legitimate, legitimated children of the member, however, his/her dependent illegitimate children shall be entitled to one hundred percent (100 percent) of the benefits (Section 8(k), Ibid.).
The dependents are provided for under Section 8(e) of RA 8282 as follows:
“(1) The legal spouse entitled by law to receive support from the member;
“(2) The legitimate, legitimated or legally adopted and illegitimate child who is unmarried, not gainfully employed and has not reached twenty-one (21) years of age, or if over twenty-one (21) years of age, he is congenitally or while still a minor has been permanently incapacitated and incapable of self-support, physically or mentally; and
“(3) The parent who is receiving regular support from the member.”
From the foregoing provisions of the SSS Law, it is apparent that even if you are the legitimate wife, you are not considered as one of your dead husband’s dependents because you were already separated from him for five (5) years prior to his death.
Thus, you are not considered as a spouse who is dependent for support from your husband prior to his death.
Now, we go to the amount, which you are supposed to be entitled to receive as the legitimate heirs. You are supposed to be entitled to the whole amount of the pension. In view of the dependents’ pension, which is being received by the minor illegitimate children, however, the same amount is deducted from the monthly pension. Since the number of children that your husband has, including his illegitimate children are four (4), they are all entitled to receive at least ten percent (10 percent) of the monthly pension as the dependents’ pension for as long as they still meet the required qualifications as provided for under Section 8(e) of RA 8282. The preference of the legitimate over illegitimate child matters only if there are more than five (5) children. This is pursuant to Section 12-a of the law, which states that where a monthly pension is payable on account of death, a dependents’ pension equivalent to ten percent (10 percent) of the monthly pension or Two hundred fifty pesos (P250.00), whichever is higher, shall also be paid for each dependent child conceived on or before the date of death of the member. The number of the dependents should not exceed five (5), beginning with the youngest and without substitution. Provided, that where there are legitimate or illegitimate children, the former shall be preferred.
Thus, until such time that the three (3) illegitimate children of your husband become twenty-one (21) years old, 30 percent of the monthly pension or P750.00, whichever is higher, goes to the illegitimate children. The monthly pension then is divided by all of the dependents including the illegitimate children.
Should you need further clarification, feel free to go to the SSS office nearest your place of residence to inquire on their policies.
We hope that we were able to answer your queries. Please be reminded that our opinion is based solely on your narration of facts and our appreciation of the same. Our opinion may vary when other facts are changed or elaborated.
Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to email@example.com