The Social Security System (SSS) started receiving applications from members affected by typhoon Ruby for the SSS calamity relief assistance program on December 15, 2014.

This will allow them to avail of salary and housing loans, or get in advance their three-months worth of pensions, SSS Vice President and Officer in Charge for Lending and Asset Management Division May Catherine C. Ciriaco said.

Only active members and regular pensioners living or working in areas that had been declared as under a state of calamity by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) can apply under the program. These areas at present include the San Pablo City, Laguna; Batangas; Albay; Camarines Sur; Catanduanes; Masbate; Naga City; Sorsogon City; municipalities of Juban, Gubat, Magallanes in Sorsogon; Northern Samar and Eastern Samar.

“SSS members who are facing short-term cash needs can apply for salary loans with waived service fee. If they have existing loans, they can renew it under the Salary Loan Early Renewal Program as long as they are eligible in terms of contributions based on our regular loan guidelines ,” Ciriaco said.

In addition, borrowers who availed of the penalty condonation program can apply in SLERP.

“The loans will be charged the existing rate of 10 percent annually until fully paid. It is payable for two years and will incur a penalty of one percent per month if not paid on due date,” Ciriaco explained.

The calamity assistance also extends to pensioners who can avail in advance their pensions for three months. A barangay certificate is needed to attest their residency in a declared calamity area except for those whose address in the SSS database is among those in the NDRRMC list.

“Members whose houses were damaged by the typhoon can get cash funds from our SSS House Repair and Direct Improvement Loan under this program, which is only offered at six percent per annum, a three-percent decrease from the existing rate,” Ciriaco said.

SSS members have until March 31, 2015 to apply in the program except for the House Repair and Direct Improvement Loan, which is up to one year from the issuance of the SSS Circular.

Payments will be issued in checks that can be picked up at the branch where the member filed his application. Unclaimed checks within the holding period of 10 days will be mailed to the member.

The SSS calamity relief assistance program was first opened in 2013 to help members affected by Typhoon Maring or “Habagat.” It has since helped more than 92,000 members recover – including those affected by the Zamboanga armed conflict, Bohol Earthquake, Typhoons Santi, Yolanda, Agaton in 2013; and Typhoons Glenda and Mario in 2014 – who in total received P1.72 billion in salary loans under SLERP.

The SSS has also advanced more than P332 million in pensions to more than 21,000 pensioners affected by the said calamities.