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 and those based in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) 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 for pensioners living abroad and in ARMM?
The GSIS has to continue the policy of requiring pensioners living abroad or in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) to undergo ARAS through SKYPE pending the completion of a registration system in the region by NSO.
What made the new GSIS Management decide to lift the policy on the requirement of ARAS?
The ARAS requirement has become a perennial source of complaint among pensioners because it has become burdensome on their part to report to 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 two-month grace period, due to geographic location and non-proximity to GSIS offices. Because of these issues, the pension benefits of these pensioners are being suspended, in accordance with the existing policy, even if they are still living.
With the goal of providing a more responsive service to its pensioners, GSIS Management and the Board approved the Non-ARAS Policy in order to address these concerns, and at the same time, provide comfort and convenience to about 300,000 old-age and survivorship pensioners.
How will the GSIS monitor the status of its pensioners?
GSIS entered into a Memorandum of Agreement with the National Statistics Office (NSO), wherein GSIS will require NSO to provide the pension fund with a monthly report/information and data on the status of pensioners. GSIS can then subsequently match and counter check NSO’s records with the pension fund’s roster of pensioners and beneficiaries.
Will 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 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 ARAS?
The ARAS menu in the GWAPS 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 NSO erroneously reported that a particular pensioner died or remarried? Would the pension 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, GSIS shall inform pensioners through a written registered notice and require them within two months from receipt 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; and
3. Request for home visitation
For reported re-married pensioners, GSIS shall inform them through a written registered notice, requiring them to submit a Certificate of No Marriage (CENOMAR) within two months from receipt of the notice.
Failure to comply with any of the above within the said two-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 and eServices Unit of 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 GSIS for proper tagging of the pensioner record.