DSWD: Almost 2 million indigent seniors receive social pension

Published June 23, 2021, 12:32 PM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza 

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) said Wednesday, June 23, that almost 2 million indigent senior citizens or nearly half of the 3.8 million targeted beneficiaries have so far received their entitled social pension.

(Manila Bulletin File Photo)

The DSWD assured the public that the Social Pension (SocPen) payouts nationwide “are ongoing” amid the granular lockdown in some areas brought about by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

“As of May 31, the Department has already served nearly 2 million beneficiaries or nearly half-way to its total target,” it said in a statement on Wednesday.

The social welfare department said the DSWD Field Offices’ (FOs) Special Disbursing Officers continued conducting the pay-out activities in the different regions to cover the unserved beneficiaries.

It noted that the FO VI (Western Visayas) recorded the highest number of beneficiaries served with 100 percent completion, followed by FO Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) with 94.65 percent, and FO VII with 91.09 percent.

“Some regions are challenged to reach their targets due to the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in their areas, mandatory 14-day quarantine of some personnel, simultaneous implementation of other DSWD programs, and mobility concerns caused by the quarantine protocols,” it said.

The DSWD said it is “closely working” with the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) for the issuance of cash cards to the SocPen beneficiaries.

“For the first quarter of 2021, the LBP has already produced 596,796 cash cards for beneficiaries in regions NCR (National Capital Region), CAR, II (Cagayan Valley), III (Central Luzon), IX (Zamboanga Peninsula), and Caraga,” it said.

“The remaining lists of social pensioners were already endorsed to LBP for the opening of account and cash card production,” it added.

For 2021, the DSWD is targeting to distribute social pension to around 3, 789,874 indigent senior citizens.

Republic Act No. 9994 or the “Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010” provides that seniors qualified to receive social pension are those who are frail, sickly or with disability; without any pension from other government agencies; and without a permanent source of income or source of financial assistance/compensation to support their basic needs.

However, the DSWD said those senior citizens who are not included in the list, but are eligible can still appeal to the Office of the Senior Citizens Affairs (OSCA), their local governments and the nearest Field Office, which has jurisdiction over their areas, for assessment.

Under SocPen, which is provided for under RA 9994, qualified indigent senior citizens receive a monthly stipend of P500 to help augment their daily subsistence and other medical needs.

The social pension is distributed on a semestral basis at P3,000 per semester or P500 per month for six months.