Over 3.2 million indigent senior citizens have received their social pension, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) said.
DSWD Secretary Rolando Joselito D. Bautista said the number of beneficiaries of the agency’s Social Pension (SocPen) Program increased to 3,203,731 beneficiaries in 2021 from 930,222 in 2015.
“Sa ilalim ng pamunuan ni Pangulong Duterte, lumawak ang pagpapatupad ng Social Pension Program for Indigent senior citizens (Under the leadership of President Duterte, the implementation of the Social Pension Program for Indigent senior citizens has been expanded),” he said in a taped public briefing aired late Monday, Nov. 15.
“Mula sa mahigit na siyam na raan at tatlumpung libong (930, 222) benepisyaryong natulungan noong 2015 katumbas ng mahigit na limang bilyong piso (P5.3B), ngayong 2021 nasa mahigit tatlong milyong (3,203,731) benepisyaryo edad animnapu (60) pataas na ang taunang nakatanggap ng kanilang social pension (From the more than nine hundred and thirty thousand (930, 222) beneficiaries assisted in 2015, receiving more than P5 billion (P5.3B), this 2021, there are more than three million (3,203,731) beneficiaries aged sixty (60) and above who annually receive their social pension),” the DSWD chief said.
The DSWD announced on Nov. 9 that it will release the social pension of indigent senior citizens every three months starting in 2022, instead of the current schedule of every six months after the House Special Committee on Senior Citizens’ adoption of House Resolution No. 1047.
Currently, the social pension is distributed on a semestral basis at P3,000 per semester or P500 per month for six months.
“In 2022, beneficiaries of the Social Pension for Indigent Senior Citizens will receive their P500-monthly stipend on a quarterly basis with a total amount of P1,500 pursuant to the DSWD Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 16 series of 2021,” it said.
MC No. 16 amends the schedule of distribution and some of the provisions of the ‘Omnibus Guidelines in the implementation of the Social Pension for Indigent Senior Citizens’.
“The social pension will be released to the beneficiaries through cash pay-out every January-March, April-June, July-September and October-December of each year,” the DSWD said.
It said the payout will be facilitated by the DSWD’s Special Disbursing Officers in coordination with the respective local government units (LGUs).
Social pension beneficiaries who are affected by the restrictions imposed by their respective LGUs were advised to send their authorized representatives to claim their stipend, provided that the representative will present the necessary documents. These include the original and photocopy of his/her valid ID; pensioner’s valid ID; authorization letter, indicating the representative’s legal name; and certification from the barangay that they are in a lockdown during the quarterly payout.
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.
For 2021, the DSWD is targeting to distribute social pension to around 3, 789,874 indigent senior citizens.