By Charissa Luci-Atienza
MAGDALO partylist Rep. Gary Alejano has filed a bill mandating the payment of retirement benefits to all members of Social Security System (SSS) and the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) within a maximum period of 30 days from the retirement date.
The opposition lawmaker laments that the GSIS and the SSS up to this day live up to the ignominy of bureaucratic red tape.
“Retiring members still have to endure the convoluted process of acquiring their retirement benefits and this process could take years in some reported cases—which ultimately robs retiree’s a significant portion of their time to actually enjoy his retirement,” he said.
He noted that there are instances wherein the retiree has faithfully followed the entire process, only for his retirement benefit to be withheld for a clerical error on the part of the SSS/GSIS.
“These are not isolated incidents and are very much representative of the two institutions’ inefficiency and lack of concern for the interest of their retiring members,” Alejano said.
“This disappointing trend requires that Congress should finally intervene and hasten the payment of retirement benefits to all GSIS/SSS retiree members,” he said.
House Bill 8462 provides that the payment of retirement benefits and pensions to all SSS and GSIS members shall be made within a maximum period of 30 days from the retirement date.
The proposed Express Retirement Benefits Payment Act provides that the requirements for retirement in the SSS and GSIS shall be in simple forms and the retiring member shall be provided with the prompt assistance in the accomplishment of whatever requirements shall be needed as early as six months prior to his retirement date.
Violators of the proposed Act shall face a penalty of one-year imprisonment and P10,000 fine.
“We must remember that many of our retirees are in their advanced ages or may very well be approaching such point in their lives and so, the slow roll-out of benefits to these people would mean that we are practically depriving them of the chance to spend their remaining years in joy and peace. This representation speaks of this, not as an attempt to be macabre, but to painfully illustrate the injustice of the present situation,” Alejano said.