In time for the Christmas season, the Social Security System (SSS) has earmarked a total of P6.34 billion for the 13th month pensions of over two million SSS pensioners for retirement, disability and death which is scheduled for release to the pensioners’ bank accounts and via mail this December.


SSS Vice President for Benefits Administration Division Agnes E. San Jose said that with the 13th month pension, SSS pensioners would receive double the amount of their regular monthly pension this month. The 13th month pension is an SSS year-end tradition that started in 1988.


“The allotted funds for the 13th month pensions were already disbursed to SSS partner banks in November. As in previous years, SSS pensioners can expect to receive their 13th month pension at the same time as their regular December pensions,” San Jose said.


Over 99 percent of SSS pensioners are enrolled in the Pension Payment thru the Bank Program, formerly known as the Mag-Impok sa Bangko Program, which enables them to receive their monthly pensions directly at their designated savings accounts. Some 12,500 pensioners opted to receive pension checks sent through the mail due to reasons such as lack of automated teller machines in their area.


“Almost P6.31 billion for 13th month pensions are scheduled for release through pensioners’ bank accounts. The remaining P34.61 million would be in the form of checks mailed to the designated addresses of the other pensioners,” San Jose said.


The SSS deposited the 13th month pension funds to the respective banks of pensioners two weeks before December. SSS partner banks would then credit the money to pensioners’ bank accounts, and these pensions are allowed for withdrawal in accordance with the member’s date of retirement, death or disability.


“Given a member who retired on January 15 and whose spouse, who was also an SSS member eligible for pension, passed away on March 20 would able to withdraw his SSS retirement pension every 15th day of the month, and SSS death pension every 20th day of the month,” San Jose explained.


The SSS provides pensions for retirement, death and disability under the Social Security (SS) Program, and for disability and death under the Employees’ Compensation (EC) Program which offers additional benefits for work-related contingencies.


SS retirement pensions of P4.01 billion accounted for over 60 percent of the funds allotted for 13th month pensions. Meanwhile, P2.06 billion was disbursed for SS death pensions, P200.30 million for SS disability pensioners, P52.71 million for EC death pensions, and P5.21 million for EC disability pensioners.


“With 2016 just around the corner, we call on pensioners to already mark in their calendars their respective schedules for the ACOP (Annual Confirmation of Pensioners). We have made it easy for pensioners to remember their ACOP schedule since it is now based on the member’s birthday,” San Jose said.


Under the ACOP, pensioners are required to make a once-a-year visit to the nearest SSS branch or depository bank to confirm their continuing eligibility for pension. Those unable to make a personal visit can send the required ACOP documents to the SSS, or request for a home visit.