This is in response to concerns raised by Oliver Garcia about the Social Security System (“Why is SSS requiring pensioners’ personal appearance?”), which appeared in the September 22 issue of the Inquirer.
The Acop (Annual Confirmation of Pensioners) program aims to ensure that only rightful beneficiaries get to receive SSS pensions. This is done by requiring every pensioner to make a personal appearance at the depository bank where he or she receives his or her SSS pension or at the nearest SSS office once a year, during his or her month of contingency.
We want to emphasize that special cases, such as pensioners who are under confinement or with medical conditions, can request the SSS for home visits. They, and especially those based overseas, can also send us the required documents through mail or a representative.
The SSS mails to pensioners a letter of notice two months before their Acop schedule. As of August 2012, some 5.68 percent, or about 65,000, of the 1.15 million Acop letters already sent to pensioners have been returned to sender (RTS), mostly due to inaccurate or outdated addresses.
Garcia’s mother appears to be among those affected by the RTS letters. We are now working on addressing this problem by encouraging members to update their mailing addresses and other personal data with the SSS.
Suspended pensions due to noncompliance with Acop take at least two months to be reinstated due to SSS’ advance processing of monthly pensions. The SSS generates the final list of pensioners of a given month on the fifth day of the preceding month. For example, the SSS pension of a member who complied with Acop on September 6 will resume in November instead of October. This is because the list of pensioners for October had already been finalized on September 5 under a process we call the “pension run.” The corresponding funds had been released to banks by mid-September, two weeks before the month of October. The banks will then credit the October pensions to pensioners’ bank accounts on the same month.
For the benefit of pensioners, the SSS will implement a twice-a-month pension run starting October 2012. Apart from the scheduled pension run every fifth day of the month, the SSS will again run the pensions on the 20th day. This will enable pensioners who complied with Acop after the fifth day of the month to have their pensions reinstated the following month. In effect, the twice-a-month pension run cuts down the two-month pension-resumption period to just one month.
Pensioners who have complied with Acop will receive the full amount of pensions withheld in the past months upon the resumption of their monthly pension.—MARISSU G. BUGANTE, vice president, Public Affairs and Special Events Division, Social Security System, SSS Building, East Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City