THE Social Security System (SSS) on Wednesday said that about P7 billion worth of pension will be released to about 2.2 million pensioners starting on the first week of March after President Rodrigo Duterte signed and confirmed the P1,000 additional benefit last Jan 10.

SSS President and chief Executive Officer Emmanuel Dooc assured pensioners that they will receive the P1,000 benefit increase starting on March 3.

“The P1,000 benefit increase will be received by our pensioners in three distinct payments at three different dates for the months of January, February and March,” Dooc said during the Social Security Commission Board meeting.

The additional P1,000 pension increase for the months of January, February and March will be received by the pensioners on March 3, 10 and 17, respectively.

“Starting on April 2017, the benefit increase will be incorporated already in the regular pension,” Dooc said.

In a memorandum from the Office of the President, signed by executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, the national government has approved the proposed increase in the benefits of qualified pensioners and beneficiaries of SSS.

“Upon representations made by SSS, and subject to existing laws, rules, and regulations, please be informed that the P1,000 increase in benefits of qualified SSS retirees, survivors, and permanently disabled pensioners effective January 2017, has been approved,” the order read.

All retirees, survivors and permanent disability pensioners will receive the P1,000 additional benefit. The additional benefit also covers all future pensioners of the SSS.

Meanwhile, for regular benefits, SSS has been releasing P7.4 billion per month since January 2017.

On top of this, SSS has allotted about P6.9 billion for the release of the additional P1,000 benefit for the first quarter alone.

Total projected additional benefit expenditures for the first year of implementation of the pension hike is seen at P32 billion.

Almost 2.2 million SSS pensioners are expected to receive the initial additional benefit. The number of pensioners is expected to increase with about 150,000 new retirees every year.

Likewise, Social Security Commission (SSC) Chairman Amado Valdez welcomed the decision of President Duterte.

“We would like to thank the Office of President Duterte for the support on this issue. To our pensioners and members, thank you for your patience and this is just the first good news that will come from me. There are more to come,” Valdez said.

“This is a concerted effort. The administration really wanted to improve the level of living of the Filipino people. Those who have less in financial aspect will have more in this pension hike. We have a new inspiration to work for more after this success,” he added.