The Social Security System (SSS) announced its new guidelines on contribution payments of voluntary members aged 65 and above who lack the required 120 monthly SSS contributions mandated by law to qualify for retirement pensions. SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Emilio de Quiros, Jr. made the announcement and called on members who are 65 years old or over prior to April 1, 2013, but have not reached the required member contributions of 120 months to qualify for retirement pension, to continue paying the remaining months but they must first file an application on or before July 1, 2013.
“Members affected by the new policy must file an ‘Application for Voluntary Payment of Contributions for Members Aged 65 and Over’ within the prescribed period so they can complete their 120 contributions and be eligible for retirement pension,” de Quiros said. “Otherwise, they can only receive a lump sum benefit instead of the lifetime SSS pension.”
Under the Social Security Law, members aged 60 and above must have at least 120 months contributions to qualify for retirement pension. Those with less than 120 will be entitled to a lump sum retirement benefit equal to the total amount of paid SSS contributions plus interest.
“With these new rules, members facing technical retirement can continue to pay contributions to be eligible for pension benefits. At the same time, this allows SSS to keep the fund viable by ensuring that retirement pensions are funded by the requisite contributions,” de Quiros said.
The new guidelines also state that members who will turn 65 years old on or after April 1, 2013, shall be allowed to continue paying contributions to qualify for retirement pension, provided that the member must have been covered by SSS at age 55 or earlier, and must have at least 80 monthly contributions by age 65.
De Quiros said those who have not been covered before age 55 cannot complete the 120 contributions. Also, they must file the same application form within the month following their 65th birthday if they intend to complete the required 120 contributions before filing their retirement claim.
“As an example, the deadline of application for a member who turns 65 on May 1, 2013 will fall on June 30, 2013. We want to emphasize that failure to file the application form on or before the deadline will bar the member from completing the 120 contributions,” de Quiros said. “In effect, their retirement benefit will be in lump sum instead of a monthly SSS pension.”
Upon approval of their application, members must pay the contributions continuously every month or quarter based on their last monthly salary credit (MSC) bracket until they reach the required 120 contributions. A decrease in MSC bracket will mean stoppage of the contribution payments, while those who pay above the approved MSC will get a refund for their excess payments.
“No contributions shall be applied retroactively nor shall payments be accepted beyond completion of the 120 months. As for members who are currently getting SSS pensions for partial permanent disability, they can start paying contributions in the month after their disability pension has ended,” de Quiros said.
Application forms for voluntary payment of SSS contributions may be downloaded from the SSS website (www.sss.gov.ph). For inquiries, members can contact the SSS Call Center at 920-6446 to 55, which is open from 7:00 am on Mondays all the way to 7:00 am on Saturdays.