Date Posted: January 5, 2015
State pension fund Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) announced that it paid out Php73.6 billion in social insurance claims and benefits for the first 11 months of the year, higher by 12.3% compared to Php65.6 billion last year.
These benefits cover pension, retirement, life insurance, survivorship, disability, and funeral.
The bulk of the increase was accounted for by monthly pension and life insurance payments at Php31 billion and Php9.6 billion, which grew by 14% and 34% from the prior year respectively.
President and General Manager Robert Vergara said that the increased disbursement may be attributed to the more efficient processing of members’ benefits.
“This year, we aimed at processing 95% of all social insurance claims within the turn-around time by adopting a risk management system,” Vergara said.
“Under our risk monitoring system, we are able to review the processing efficiency of our 57 branch offices and identify best practices that we can implement across the organization”.
The turnaround time for processing retirement benefit is 90 days under Republic Act No. 10154 (approved on 11 July 2011) that requires government agencies to ensure the early release of retirement pay, pensions and other benefits of retiring government employees.
Life insurance and survivorship benefits should be processed within 60 days and funeral benefit within 30 days.
In the area of loan disbursements, the pension fund granted a total net amount of Php37 billion in various loans that benefited 1.2 million members and pensioners.
Of this amount, emergency assistance programs accounted for over 41% at Php15.4 billion.
GSIS released more than Php3.7 billion in enhanced emergency loans to around 194,000 typhoon-hit members whose loanable amount was increased to Php40,000 from Php20,000.
The pension fund also offered a one-time special loan program called the Home Emergency Loan Program or HELP, under which members based in the Yolanda-hit areas could borrow from Php30,000 to Php200,000 depending on their total length of service.
More than Php11.5 billion was released for HELP to speed up the process of rebuilding the lives of almost 82,000 members.
And for the first time, GSIS extended a Php20,000 pensioners’ emergency loan (PEL), “as calamities strike anyone whether pensioner or member.” Nearly Php139 million in PEL was released to 7,000 pensioners.
Aside from the special emergency assistance package, the pension fund offered a one-year moratorium program for members and pensioners that deferred the payment for all types of loans without interest and penalties. This enabled the typhoon-hit victims to use the money for their other urgent needs.
A total of 335,518 loan accounts amounting to Php23 billion were covered by the moratorium.
“We were also encouraged by the record number of delinquent agencies who reconciled with GSIS this year, which not only enabled the updating of the service records of their personnel, but their availment of higher loanable amounts and increased eligible benefits as well.”
For 2014 alone, 42 agencies signed agreements with GSIS (or roughly one agreement per week) that brought down the total remaining suspended agencies to 97 from a high of 315 in 2010.
More importantly, members working in suspended agencies can now avail of loans as a result of the non-suspension policy implemented by the pension fund in July 2013.
“We assure our members and pensioners that Management continues to find ways to deliver on our corporate mission to provide the most responsive service to them,” Vergara said.