About 3.6 million members of the Social Security System (SSS) can avail themselves of the SSS calamity relief package to help them and their families recover from the devastation caused by Typhoon Pablo, which is the strongest typhoon to hit the country so far this year.

SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Emilio de Quiros, Jr. said the three-part relief package offers early renewal of salary loans, advance release of three-months’ worth of pensions, and a two-percent cut in interest rates of the SSS Direct House Repair and Improvement Loan.

“Members in declared calamity areas can use their loan proceeds and advance pensions for basic and immediate needs such as food, clothing, shelter and medicines. The funds can also serve as capital for members whose source of livelihood was disrupted by the typhoon,” he added.

The relief package is extended to members in the “declared and may be declared” calamity areas identified by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC). These currently include: Palawan (Region IV-B); Siquijor and Cebu (Region VII); Lanao del Norte and Misamis Oriental (Region X); Compostela Valley, Davao Oriental and Davao del Norte (Region XI); Surigao del Sur and Agusan del Sur (Region XIII).

De Quiros said the package offers the Salary Loan Early Renewal Program (SLERP), which allows current borrowers to renew their loan ahead of the prescribed schedule. To be eligible, members must have at least six posted contributions within the past 12 months prior to the month of application.

“Members with sanctions on loan renewal due to their availment of the SSS condonation program are also allowed to apply for SLERP, as long as they live or work in a declared calamity area. We will also waive the one percent service fee under the SLERP,” he said.

The second component of the relief package is the three-month advance pensions for SSS pensioners in typhoon-affected areas. Their applications for early pensions must be certified by their local Barangay Chairman as proof of their residence in a declared calamity area.

“Since SSS pensions for January 2013 were already released to our partner banks, pensioners who apply for calamity relief within December 2012 will get their February to April 2013 pensions in advance,” de Quiros explained. “Those who submit their applications within January 2013 will receive early their March to May 2013 SSS pensions.”

The package’s last component, which is the two-percent cut in interest rates for house repair and improvement loans, is open to members whose homes were destroyed by Typhoon Pablo. The reduced interest rates per annum are six percent for loans of P400,000 and below, and seven percent for loans above P400,000 to P1 million.

“Members must have at least three contributions within the 12-month period prior to loan application. Aside from the usual documentary requirements, they must also present a certification from the barangay, local government unit, NDRRMC, or the Department of Social Welfare and Development attesting that the house to be repaired was damaged by Typhoon Pablo,” de Quiros noted.

The deadline for filing of applications for the calamity relief package for Typhoon Pablo is January 31, 2013 for the advance release of pensions; March 31, 2013 for SLERP; and December 31, 2013 for the lower interest rate on home repair and improvement loans. Application forms are available at SSS branches in the affected regions or may be downloaded from the SSS website (www.sss.gov.ph).