The Social Security System (SSS) is still in continuous dialogue with its stakeholders to achieve consensus on its proposed reform agenda. This was disclosed today by SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Emilio S. De Quiros, Jr. to clarify reports that came out on the subject earlier this week.

De Quiros said the SSS reform agenda is a package of reforms geared towards improving the benefit structure while extending the life of SSS. “Even if SSS is solid at this point in time, we need to look at the future. We need to extend the fund life so that those who just joined the workforce today will have something to look forward to in the future in times of contingency such as sickness, maternity, disability and retirement,” he further explained.

The more direct approach to increase benefits of members and pensioners is to increase the monthly salary credit (MSC) on which contributions and the computation of benefits are based. “By increasing the MSC, we also increase the amount of benefits,” De Quiros assured. “The same can be said with raising the rate of contribution. The bigger the contributions one makes, the bigger the benefits. Thus, the reform agenda is really a package deal. By effecting these proposals, actively paying members will immediately enjoy higher social security benefits.”

Even as SSS finds ways to enhance its benefits to members, it also makes sure that it pays the right amount to the right persons through its Annual Confirmation of Pensioners (ACOP) program. “Through the ACOP program, we make sure that the right benefits are paid to the rightful pensioners,” said De Quiros. “So far we have cancelled 584 pension accounts whose payees are no longer entitled to the pension, and suspended 47,320 amounting to some P135 million monthly, pending compliance with the guidelines of the ACOP.”

“We have likewise, taken a number of initiatives to increase collections by improving compliance and increasing membership. This year, we are focused on the informal sector workers,” the SSS chief said. He further explained that efforts are being made to cover those in the transport, construction, agricultural and other industries where most workers are exposed to hazards and risks.

The SSS is proposing to increase the rate of contribution from 10.4% to 11% or a 0.6% increase to be shared equally by the employer and employee; and to raise the maximum salary ceiling from P15,000 to P20,000 for a more meaningful benefit structure.