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FAQs on Survivorship Benefits

Why did the GSIS revise the existing policy on the grant of survivorship benefits?

The existing policies on the grant of survivorship benefits were revised by Management with the goal of granting equitable benefits to survivorship pensioners, taking into consideration the specific provisions under the Family Code, such that dependency for support of the surviving spouse to the deceased GSIS member shall not be dictated by the surviving spouse’s financial status or capability.

Given the said revisions, members and pensioners are secured of their future benefits in GSIS without compromising the financial viability of the Social Insurance Fund.

Who will be covered by this new policy?

The following shall be covered by this new policy:

  1. All primary and secondary beneficiaries residing in the Philippines or abroad who are existing survivorship pensioners or claiming for survivorship benefit;
  2. Those who were receiving survivorship benefits but were suspended when the policy on the same was amended and implemented in August 2009; and
  3. Those who applied for survivorship benefits but were disapproved due to the issuance/approval of Management Implementing Guidelines (MIG) 01-2009 dated October 22, 2009 that took effect as early as August 2009, and MIG 04-2010 dated April 26, 2010.

Who are the primary and secondary beneficiaries?

The primary beneficiaries shall be the following:

  1. The legitimate spouse, until he/she re-marries, or co-habits/engages in common-law relationship; and
  2. The dependent legitimate, legally adopted or legitimated children, including illegitimate children, who have not reached the age of majority, or, have reached the age of majority but incapacitated and incapable of self-support due to a mental or physical defect acquired prior to age of majority.

The secondary beneficiaries shall be the dependent parents and, subject to the restrictions on dependent children, the legitimate descendants.

When will a surviving legal spouse or dependent children be disqualified from receiving the survivorship pension?

The payment of survivorship pension to the surviving dependent spouse shall be discontinued when he/she re-marries or cohabits/engages in common-law relationship.

On the other hand, the dependent children shall be disqualified from receiving the survivorship pension once he/she reaches the age of majority.

What will happen to the survivorship pension being received by the surviving spouse and dependent children when any of them dies or becomes disqualified from receiving the survivorship pension?

When the surviving spouse and dependent children are already receiving the basic survivorship pension and dependent children’s pension, respectively, any subsequent death, emancipation or disqualification of any one of them shall not result in the accrual of that portion of benefits to the other beneficiaries.

How will the beneficiaries claim for survivorship benefits?

The application for survivorship benefits should be filed together with the documentary requirements, including the following affidavits:

  1. Affidavit of Surviving Spouse;
  2. Affidavit of Guardianship of Incapacitated Dependent Child. The Affidavit shall be supported by a court order. In the absence of a court order, the Affidavit shall be supported by a Certification of Guardianship from the Barangay Captain and the City/Municipal Social Welfare Head where the incapacitated dependent child is residing; and
  3. Affidavit of Guardianship of Minor Dependent Child. The Affidavit shall be supported by a court order. In the absence of a court order, the Affidavit shall be supported by a Certification of Guardianship from the Barangay Captain and the City/Municipal Social Welfare Head where the minor dependent child is residing.

Will the secondary beneficiaries and legal heirs be required to comply with the submission of the Affidavits?

The secondary beneficiaries and legal heirs, since they are not entitled to pension, shall not be required to comply with the submission of the said affidavits.

How can a child of minor age or with physical or mental incapacity claim for survivorship benefits?

The guardian of the minor child or child with physical or mental incapacity should secure a court order. In the absence of a court order, the Affidavit shall be supported by a Certification of Guardianship from the Barangay Captain and the City/Municipal Social Welfare Head where the dependent child is residing. This should be submitted to the GSIS as a supporting document to the application for survivorship benefits and to the Affidavit of Guardianship of Minor Dependent Child or Incapacitated Dependent Child.

What will happen if the survivorship pensioners fail to execute the Affidavit of Surviving Spouse/Children for that year?

Failure on the part of the survivorship pensioner/s to submit the required affidavit shall be a ground for the suspension of the survivorship pension.

When will the secondary beneficiaries be entitled to survivorship benefits?

The secondary beneficiaries shall be entitled to survivorship benefits only if there are no primary beneficiaries and shall be subject to limitations defined by GSIS.

Who will be entitled to receive the survivorship benefits if there are no primary and secondary beneficiaries?

In the absence of primary and secondary beneficiaries, the legal heirs, as defined under the Rules on Succession, New Civil Code of the Philippines, shall receive the applicable cash benefit depending on the eligibility of the deceased member or pensioner.

The cap on the amount of basic survivorship pension is fifty percent (50%) of the current Step 8Â salary of an Undersecretary, pursuant to the Salary Standardization Law and its amendments.

What is the basis for this?

The position of an Undersecretary is the highest career position in the government, hence, the most appropriate basis when putting a cap on the basic survivorship pension. As of December 2010, there is only 0.24% of the general membership who is receiving more than the current Step 8 salary of an Undersecretary, and, consequently, will be affected by this policy.

Why did the GSIS put a cap on the amount of basic survivorship pension?

RA 8291 mandates the periodic review of its rules and regulations to ensure their responsiveness to its members as well as to safeguard the financial viability of the System.

Applying a ceiling on the basic survivorship pension, particularly for those who have received salaries more than that of an Undersecretary, is a measure to guarantee the actuarial soundness of the System. More importantly, it is a mechanism to bring about equity and fairness among members and their survivors, regardless of whether they come from an agency within or exempt from the Salary Standardization Law (SSL).

The pension is derived from the basic monthly pension (BMP) of a member. The BMP is based on the average monthly compensation (AMC) which is determined from the aggregate compensation received by the member during his/her last 36 months. Generally, the last 36 months of service of a government employee corresponds to higher compensation as compared to his service prior to the said period. Hence, the premium contributions that were collected during the prior services are lower than those for the last 36 months. This results to a disproportionate relation between the aggregate contributions with the last compensation and, consequently, any pension, including survivorship pension.

To put a cap on the amount that certain income groups in SSL-exempt agencies at the level of the highest career position of SSL agencies is intended to avert an unfair situation where members or their survivors in regular SSL agencies, who are already receiving less, will eventually be subsidizing the pensions of members or their survivors, who are already receiving more.

How will the survivorship pension of the dependent children be computed, 10% of the BMP or 10% of the cap?

The survivorship pension of the dependent children shall be computed at 10% of the BMP.

When will the survivors of a retiree who availed and was paid the 5-year lumpsum benefit receive the survivorship pension?

When the old age pensioner dies within the 5-year period after receiving the five-year lump sum, the survivorship pension shall be paid only after the end of the said five-year period. However, the claim for survivorship benefits should be filed together with the claim for funeral benefit, and this should be done within four (4) years from the date of death of the retiree.

How will GSIS determine if the survivorship pensioners are still qualified to receive the survivorship pension?

The GSIS eServices Department (for Central Office) / Frontline Services Unit (for Regional and Branch Offices) shall schedule and conduct home visitation as part of the investigation process to determine if the primary or secondary beneficiaries should continue to receive the survivorship pension.

Who will be responsible for cleansing and tagging the records of survivorship pensioners?

The Membership Group shall undertake data cleansing and tagging every six (6) months to ensure that the pension records of all disqualified or suspended primary beneficiaries are tagged accordingly.

Who will be responsible for updating the cap in the computerized system?

The Membership Group shall be responsible for updating the cap in the computerized system.

When is the effectivity of this new policy?

This new policy shall be implemented retroactively from the time the existing policies on eligibility requirements of a surviving spouse to survivorship benefits (disqualifying a surviving spouse who is gainfully employed or engaged in any gainful activity or receiving pension from GSIS or any other local or foreign institutions from receiving the survivorship pension) were adopted.

What is the effect of this new policy to the survivors who were disapproved/stopped from receiving their survivorship pension due to the issuance/approval of MIG 01-2009 dated October 22, 2009 that took effect as early as August 2009 and MIG 04-2010 dated April 26, 2010?

For survivorship pensioners whose survivorship pensions were suspended as a result of the previous policy, the amounts accruing for the period they were suspended shall be restored by the GSIS, subject to the maximum amount of survivorship pension provided under PPG No. 207-11 dated February 16, 2011.

On the other hand, for surviving spouse whose applications for survivorship benefits were denied as a result of the previous policy (disqualifying a surviving spouse who is gainfully employed or engaged in any gainful activity or receiving pension from GSIS or any other local or foreign institutions from receiving the survivorship pension), their applications may be submitted to GSIS. If found to be qualified, their benefits shall be granted and computed retroactively, subject to the maximum amount of survivorship pension provided under PPG No. 207-11 dated February 16, 2011.

Will the existing survivorship pensioners be subjected to the maximum limit of basic survivorship pension?

No, the existing survivorship pensioners (surviving spouse) who are receiving more than the said limit shall not be subjected to this policy.

If a claim was filed prior to the end of the prescription period, but was denied due to the previous policy, can the surviving spouse still file the survivorship benefit claim under this new policy?

The claim is not considered prescribed since it was filed prior to the end of the prescription period. Hence, the claim may be submitted to the GSIS, and if found to be qualified, the benefit shall be granted and computed retroactively, subject to the maximum amount of survivorship pension provided under PPG No. 207-11.

If the survivorship benefit claim has prescribed, under what condition can the claim for survivorship benefit be allowed to be filed to the GSIS?

If a survivorship benefit claim has prescribed, the said benefit may still be claimed from the GSIS provided that there was a claim for funeral benefit which was previously filed within the 4-year prescription period. The claim for funeral benefit shall be considered as a constructive notice for the survivorship benefit claim. If found to be qualified, the benefit shall be granted and computed retroactively, subject to the maximum amount of survivorship pension provided under PPG No. 207-11.

Will the other existing policies on survivorship benefits be affected by this PPG?

All other policies which are not affected by the approved PPG, including the Restructured Survivorship Benefits under RA 8291, as approved by the Board through Board Resolution No. 188 dated August 13, 2003, shall still apply. However, the policy on the maximum amount of basic survivorship pension payable to the surviving spouse, as provided under the approved PPG, shall apply to the Restructured Survivorship Benefits under RA 8291.