The Social Security System (SSS) paid Employees’ Compensation (EC) funeral benefits to 67 of the 74 families of victims of the fire that broke out at Kentex Manufacturing Corporation in Valenzuela City last month. Nine of these families have also received Social Security (SS) funeral benefits.

EC funeral benefits granted to work related deaths amount to P20,000. Another P20,000 in SS burial benefits are currently being processed for the beneficiaries of the victims.

To date, only seven EC funeral benefit claims are for processing. Three of these claims remain to be pending since relatives of deceased member still could not be found. Two claims are under process after submission of birth certificates or IDs to prove that they are beneficiaries of the deceased member. Relatives of one of the victims has not yet communicated with the SSS while another, who happens to be a relative of the owner of Kentex, has yet to file an application with the SSS.

Of the 74 victims of the fire in Kentex, 33 had no records with the SSS. To facilitate processing of claims, SSS had to assign SSS numbers and dates of coverages for each of these deceased workers.

“We visited the families of the victims so that we could immediately determine the rightful beneficiaries. We used the master list provided by the Local Government Unit (LGU) of Valenzuela City to locate the families of the victims,” said Senior Vice President Jose Bautista of NCR Operations Group.

The said master list served as the death certificate of the 74 victims. The list includes the name, address, name of spouse or relatives of deceased member.

On June 8, 2015, the SSS approved the special policy for the processing of benefit claims of Kentex victims. SSS Commission Resolution No. 444 S-2015, lifted the usual policy of four years waiting period for the “presumption of fact of death.” Because of this ruling, in the case of the victims of Kentex, there was no need to wait for four years to prove the death of a member prior to processing of burial benefit.

After payment of funeral benefits, the SSS will start processing the death benefit claims for the relatives of the victims of Kentex. The amount of death benefit will depend on the number of SSS contributions paid by the member. If the married deceased member was able to pay at least 36 monthly contributions, the legal spouse of the member will receive a lifetime death pension as well as dependent’s pension for minor children until they reach age 21; however, if the member is single, his secondary or designated beneficiaries will receive a lump sum benefit. Meanwhile, a lump sum benefit will be granted to the relatives of members who were not able to contribute for at least 36 month.