SSS appeals for objectivity on rate hike

Published January 25, 2021, 6:30 AM

by Chino S. Leyco

 State-run Social Security System (SSS) is appealing to the House of Representatives for an “objective decision” on the proposed measures postponing the contribution rate hike for this year.

In a statement, Aurora C. Ignacio, SSS president and chief executive, said the pension fund’s financial viability may be disadvantaged should the scheduled contribution rate hike is deferred.

Ignacio explained that provisions of the proposed legislations embodied under House bills 8304, 8310, 8313, 8315, and 8317 will weaken and put more strain on the SSS fund in these difficult times.

Aurora C. Ignacio, SSS president and chief executive
Aurora C. Ignacio, SSS president and chief executive

 “At the outset, we have expressed our opposition to these proposals because of its adverse financial impact to the financial health of the SSS and jeopardize the benefits of members, pensioners and their beneficiaries,” Ignacio said.

“However, we support any measures that will benefit our stakeholders as long as it will prioritize the long-term sustainability of the pension fund,” she added.

  Ignacio emphasized that additional contributions—depending on the members’ minimum salary credit category—are just relatively small.

The monthly rate increase ranges between P15 and P100 for employed members; and between P30 and P200 for self-employed and voluntary members. Overseas Filipino worker (OFW) members will only see contribution rate hikes between P80 and P200.  

 “The new contribution rate is just minimal. However, its impact on the SSS fund life will benefit current members and future generations,” Ignacio said.

 “Every additional peso they will contribute can help strengthen our financial viability and allow us to fulfill our obligations to our members and pensioners in the decades to come,” the SSS chief explained.

  Last week, the House health and the government enterprises and privatization committees approved two pending bills giving President Duterte the power to suspend the implementation of scheduled increases in the premium rates of the SSS.

  Following the approval, Ignacio urged legislators to consider the effects of delaying the scheduled contribution hike to benefits given to members, pensioners, and their beneficiaries.

 The SSS official explained that postponing the scheduled contribution hike will decrease the number of benefits and loans that may be given to millions of SSS members.

 “We estimated a projected loss amounting to P41.37 billion for 2021 alone. And this amount will also continue to increase annually, cutting short the SSS fund life and adding to the contingent liability of the pension fund which is already estimated in the trillions of pesos,” she continued.

  “We understand that we are currently in a pandemic situation, but we are appealing to lawmakers to look into the significance and long-term impact of adjusting the SSS contributions for its 38.8 million current members and future members as well,” Ignacio concluded.  

The SSS is mandated under Republic Act 11199—or the Social Security Act of 2018 which was approved on March 5, 2019—to gradually implement a biennial one percent contribution rate until 2025.