Date Posted: 2011-04-14 10:51:56

THE Government Service Insurance System today announced that beginning May 1 this year,  the pension fund will no longer require its more than 300,000 old-age and survivorship pensioners to visit GSIS on their birth month for their ARAS (Annual Renewal of Active Status) to receive their monthly pension.

“We don’t want to impose unnecessary hardship on our pensioners  especially those who are very sick and who have difficulty moving around,” Robert Vergara, President and General Manager explained.

Vergara said the GSIS reached an agreement with the National Statistics Office to determine the status of GSIS pensioners in lieu of the annual renewal requirement.

Pensioners living abroad, however, will still be required to renew their active status via video call or through the use of skype,  a web-based software that allows users to make telephone calls over the Internet free of charge.

“This initiative is part of the continuing efforts of the new Board to provide more responsive service to its members and pensioners,” Vergara said.


Frequently Asked Questions on the Implementation of the Non Renewal of Active Status (ARAS)

Is it true that GSIS will no longer require its Old-Age and Survivorship pensioners to undergo ARAS on their birth month?

Yes.  Effective May 1, 2011, all Old-Age and Survivorship pensioners residing in the Philippines shall no longer be required to comply with the Annual Renewal of Active Status requirement or ARAS, except for the following who shall still be required to comply just for the last time:

  1. Pensioners who are on suspended status as of April 30, 2011
  2. Pensioners whose birth month falls on any of the following months -- February, March or April

However, Old-Age and Survivorship pensioners residing abroad shall still be required to comply with the ARAS requirement on their birth month every year using Skype or the GSIS Voice Activated Processing System (G-VAPS). They shall be given a two-month grace period after their birth month to do ARAS.  Otherwise, their monthly pension shall be suspended.

Why can’t the GSIS implement the Non-ARAS Policy on pensioners living abroad?

The GSIS has to continue the policy of requiring pensioners living abroad to undergo ARAS thru Skype or the G-VAPS because there is no way for GSIS to monitor the status of these pensioners.

What made the new GSIS Management decide to lift the policy on the requirement of ARAS?

The ARAS requirement has become the source of complaint among pensioners because it has become burdensome on their part to report to the GSIS to comply with this requirement.  For home visits, GSIS finds it hard to visit all the bed-ridden and 80-year old pensioners in time for their birth month, or even during the 2-month grace period due to geographic location and non-proximity to GSIS offices.  Because of these issues, the pension benefits of these lowly pensioners are being suspended, in accordance with the existing policy, even if they are still living.

With the goal of providing more responsive services to its members and pensioners, the Management and the Board approved the Non-ARAS Policy in order to address the problems of GSIS, and at the same time, provide convenience to about 300,000 old-age and survivorship pensioners.

How will the GSIS monitor the status of its pensioners?

The GSIS entered into a Memorandum of Agreement with the National Statistics Office (NSO), wherein the GSIS will require the NSO to provide it with a monthly report/information and data on the status of pensioners, which the GSIS can then match and countercheck with its rosters of pensioners and beneficiaries.

Will the GSIS still require survivorship pensioners to submit affidavits every year?

No, the affidavits related to survivorship pension benefit shall only be required upon application for the said benefit.  After its submission to the GSIS, survivorship pensioners shall no longer be required to submit the same affidavits every year.

If pension is suspended as of April 30, 2011, where should the pensioner go to comply with the ARAS?

The ARAS menu in the G-W@PS kiosks shall not be disabled to facilitate the renewal of active status—for the last time—of pensioners who are on suspended status as of April 30, 2011, as well as of pensioners whose birth month is February, March or April.

What would happen if the NSO erroneously reported that a particular pensioner died or remarried, would the pension of that pensioner still be suspended?

The NSO report will include, among others, a remark on whether the record has a perfect match or similar/sounds like/partial matched records. For similar/sounds like/partial matched records of deceased pensioners, the GSIS shall inform the pensioner through a written registered notice and require them within two (2) months from receipt thereof to undertake any of the following:

  1. Report to the nearest GSIS office;
  2. Send picture holding a newspaper that clearly shows the current date;
  3. Use the G-VAPS;
  4. Request for home visitation

For reported re-married pensioners, the GSIS shall inform the pensioner through a written registered notice and require the latter within two (2) months from receipt thereof to submit a Certificate of No Marriage (CENOMAR) secured from the NSO.

Failure to comply with any of the above within the said 2-month grace period shall result in the immediate suspension of the pensioner’s monthly pension.

Since there is no more ARAS, how will pensioners—who are either 80 years old and above or are disabled/bed-ridden—be monitored?

The Loans & eServices Unit of the GSIS shall randomly undertake home visitation for Old-Age and Survivorship pensioners who are either 80 years old and above or are disabled/bed-ridden.  For those who have been verified as deceased, the same shall be reported to the GSIS for proper tagging of the pensioner record.