SSS approves P15.63B calamity loans, P190M unemployment benefits

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    The Social Security System (SSS) has approved P15.63 billion in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) calamity assistance loans as of July 28, the Department of Finance (DOF) said yesterday.

    The DOF also said in a statement another P190.02 million in unemployment insurance benefits (UIB) was approved in July, to tide over workers hit hard by the pandemic’s economic fallout.

    The SSS said it has approved 14,186 applications for the UIB in July 1 to 27.

    From August 2019 when the SSS started accepting UIB applications and up to July 27, it has approved 43,347 applications with a combined total of P544.37 million, Aurora Ignacio, the pension fund’s president and chief executive officer, said.

    Ignacio also said the agency has approved more than 1.03 million applications for its Calamity Loan Assistance Package (CLAP) for the COVID-19 outbreak since its online filing was launched last June 15.

    She said from June 15 to July 28, CLAP applications average P15,144 per claim.

    Ignacio said the calamity loan for COVID-19 will run for three months starting June until September 14, 2020, and online application is now mandatory.

    President Duterte declared a state of national calamity in the country last March 16 due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

    The calamity loan for COVID-19 carries a 6 percent interest per annum commencing on the fourth month with a 27-month term, inclusive of a three-month moratorium.

    Meanwhile, SSS premium-paying members can avail of the UIB equivalent to half of their average monthly salary credit for a maximum of two months if they are involuntarily separated because of economic downturn, calamity/disaster, redundancy, installation of labor-saving devices, retrenchment or downsizing, closure or cessation of operation, and disease or illness of these employees whose continued employment is prohibited by law or is prejudicial to their or their co-employees’ health.

    They should have paid the requisite minimum number of monthly contributions for three years to qualify for this unemployment benefit, 12 of which should have been made in the 18-month period immediately preceding the month of involuntary separation.