Quezon City Rep. Precious Hipolito Castelo called out the Social Security System Sunday over the delayed release of pension benefits of retirees and the confusion on the payment of pension benefits.
She called on the SSS to immediately resolve those issues, following reports that pensioners in their 70s flocked to the SSS members’ assistance center in Quezon City to look into their delayed pension.
“These are senior citizens who should be staying home. By going out to inquire about their pension, they exposed themselves to the infectious new coronavirus,” Castelo said. “Our elderly need their monthly benefit, which is barely enough for their medicines,” she said.
Castelo thinks that the confusion on the revised schedule of payment of pension could be part of the alleged delay.
She noted that a spokesman for the SSS was quoted as saying in a television report the new schedule is based on the birthday of pensioners, who are required to register online for those with Internet and in person in any SSS office for those without Internet access.
According to the vice chairperson of the House Committee on Metro Manila Development, the SSS supposedly issued a warning that any failure to register would mean suspension of pension until they comply with the requirement.
Castelo also questioned the SSS for shifting to a new benefits payment system in this time of pandemic.
“Again, why introduce these changes amid the pandemic even if the objective is to save money by discarding the practice of issuing checks? Why expose our senior citizen-retirees to health and physical risks unnecessarily?” she asked.
She said many pensioners were not receiving the money due them on time because of the SSS’s shift to a new payment schedule and its requirement to register online or personally.
She said it is better for the SSS to revert back to its old payment system in which retirees receive their pension in their individual bank accounts.
“That scheme was working well. Our retirees do not understand the decision to change it and make it difficult for them to get their benefits at this time,” Castelo said.