The Social Security System (SSS) has readied its calamity relief package for SSS members and pensioners affected by Tropical Storm Mario.

SSS Vice President May Catherine Ciriaco, Offcer-in-Charge of the SSS Lending and Asset Management Division, said SSS members and pensioners residing in “declared and may be declared” calamity areas identified by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) due to Tropical Storm Mario can avail themselves of the agency’s calamity relief package starting today, October 01.

“We understand how essential it is for them to have immediate access to any form of assistance right now, that’s why we are giving them another way, by which they can renew their loans or advance their pension even before they are due for renewal or payment. Ciriaco said. “The SSS’ concern right now is to help them get out of harm’s way as much as we can, as soon as possible.”

The SSS calamity relief package for members consists of the Salary Loan Early Renewal Program (SLERP), which allows members to renew their loans earlier than the prescribed date; SSS Direct House Repair and Impovement Loan Program, which offers a lower interest rate of only six percent per annum; and three-month advance payment for members receiving pensions under SSS and Employees’ Compensation Program.

Ciriaco said affected members who have already availed of the similar relief package that was offered after the onslaught of Typhoon Glenda in July 2014 may apply.

“Granting of salary loans under SLERP will be subject to the same eligibility guidelines that we follow for regular salary loans, Ciriaco explained. “To further help them in their recovery, we will waive the one-percent service fee charged on proceeds of both new and renewed loans.” she added.

For the advanced pension payments, Ciriaco said pensioners, whose present address is different from the address in the SSS database will have to submit a barangay certification to prove that they reside in a declared calamity area.

“To our members whose houses need repair after the typhoon, they may avail of cash assistance through our Direct House Repair and Improvement loan window, which now only carries an interest of six percent per annum,” Ciriaco said.

Ciriaco said qualified SSS members pensioners have until December 31, 2014 to apply for loans and pensions while deadline of application for the Direct House Repair and Improvement Loan, is up to one year from issuance of its corresponding circular.

As of date, the NDRRMC list of areas in a state of calamity due to the effects of Tropical Storm Mario are Marikina City, Cebu City, Cainta in Rizal, and the provinces of Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur.

Based on the latest NDRRMC Situational Report, Mario has so far affected 419,939 families in 27 provinces and left damages in infrastructure and agriculture worth more than P2 billion.