As part of national relief and rehabilitation efforts in the wake of Super Typhoon Yolanda, the Social Security System (SSS) has bared a Calamity Relief Package that offers preferential terms for members’ salary and house repair loans, and up to three months of advanced pensions for pensioners in the affected areas.

SSS Vice President and Officer-in-Charge for Lending and Asset Management Division May Catherine Ciriaco said the Social Security Commission (SSC) has approved the SSS relief package for members and pensioners affected by “Yolanda” in calamity areas officially declared by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).

“Under the calamity relief package, members and pensioners have six months to apply for Salary Loans and three-month advance pensions, and one year for the House Repair and Improvement Loans,” she said. “With the long deadline, members and pensioners can focus on urgent matters first, such as recovering from injuries and caring for affected relatives, and file their SSS applications at a more convenient time.”

Ciriaco said new and existing Salary Loan borrowers are both covered by the Calamity Relief Package. Current borrowers, including those with sanctions on loan renewal as a result of their past availment of the SSS Loan Penalty Condonation Program, can apply for the Salary Loan Early Renewal Program (SLERP).

“The SLERP allows current borrowers to renew their loan ahead of the prescribed schedule, and have their one-percent service fee waived by SSS. As for new borrowers, SSS will waive the loan service fee as part of the relief package,” she said. “These special loan applications must be filed on or before April 30, 2014.”

The SSS provides a maximum Salary Loan of P30,000. Borrowers with at least 36 monthly contributions are eligible for the one-month Salary Loan, while those with a minimum of 72 monthly contributions are eligible for the two-month salary loan that is equivalent to twice of their monthly salary credit or “MSC.”

Ciriaco said SSS also lowered to six percent the annual interest rate of its House Repair and Improvement Loan Program, and waived the loan application fee of up to P3,000, to help members rebuild their homes damaged by strong winds and rains brought by “Yolanda,” the strongest typhoon to hit the country this year. The application deadline is one year from the issuance date of the corresponding SSS circular.

“Pensioners for retirement, disability or survivorship can apply for three-month advance SSS pensions to help alleviate the financial burden caused by the recent calamity,” she added. “To apply, they must submit an accomplished application form, with a certification from their respective barangay as proof of residence in a declared calamity area, on or before April 30, 2014.”

On top of the Calamity Relief Package, the SSC also approved a P250,000 donation to the Philippine Red Cross to support relief efforts in the various areas devastated by “Yolanda,” Ciriaco said.