The Social Security System (SSS) has extended the original November 29, 2013 deadline for special salary loan terms and advance release of pensions under the SSS Calamity Relief Package to April 30, 2014, giving members and pensioners affected by the 7.2 magnitude earthquake in Central Visayas five more months to file their applications.

SSS Officer-in-Charge Edgar Solilapsi said the Social Security Commission approved the new availment deadline, in light of conditions faced by SSS members and pensioners in the declared calamity areas of Cebu and Bohol.

“Given the severity of the calamity and extent of the damage, the longer availment period will enable members and pensioners to focus on more urgent concerns first, such as finding missing relatives, setting up temporary homes, caring for the injured, and burying the dead,” Solilapsi said.

The SSS Calamity Relief Package for earthquake-hit members in declared calamity areas includes the Salary Loan Early Renewal Program (SLERP) that allows borrowers to renew their loans ahead of the prescribed one-year period from the start of loan payment. The one-percent service fee has been waived for new salary loans and SLERP applications that will be filed under the relief package on or before April 30, 2014. Meanwhile, pensioners for retirement, disability and survivorship may apply for three-month advance pension under the relief package until April 30 next year.

“To apply, pensioners only need to submit an accomplished application form along with a certification of their residence in a declared calamity area from their barangay chairman,” he said. “Partial disability pensioners with a fixed pension duration can also apply for the relief package, so that SSS can release in advance the balance of up to three months of their disability pension.”

Solilapsi noted that the availment period is still one year for affected members applying for the special House Repair and Improvement Loan Program under the calamity relief package. The one-year availment period aims to give calamity-hit members ample time to prepare the documentary requirements for the special house repair loan.

“The loan will help them repair their homes that were damaged by the earthquake at a lower interest rate of six percent per year. The regular application fee of up to P3,000 for SSS house repair loans will also be waived as part of the calamity relief package,” he added.