MANILA – The Social Security System (SSS) on Thursday urged its members with unpaid short-term member loans to take advantage of its new loan penalty condonation program.

In a statement, SSS said the Consolidation of Past Due Short-Term Member Loans with Condonation of Penalty aims to aid its members in paying their past-due loans.

“We continuously offer loan penalty condonation programs to help our members settle their loan balances without penalties and regain their good standing with the SSS,” SSS president and chief executive officer Michael Regino said.

Members with outstanding Salary Loans including Salary Loan Early Renewal Program (SLERP), Calamity, Emergency Loan, and Restructured Loan are qualified for the new program.

Interested members must also have:

-an active My.SSS account
-a past-due short-term member loan at the time of their application
not been granted any final benefit such as permanent total disability or retirement
-not been disqualified due to fraud committed against the SSS

“The SSS shall combine the principal and interest of a member’s past-due short-term member loans into one consolidated loan while all unpaid penalties shall be consolidated and condoned upon full payment of the consolidated loan,” Regino said.

Members may pay their consolidated loan through a one-time payment within 30 calendar days after receiving the approval notice or they may also opt to pay through installment.

For the installment scheme, members must pay a down payment equivalent to at least 10 percent of the consolidated loan within 30 calendar days after receiving the approval notice.

Meanwhile, they can pay the remaining balance for up to 60 months, depending on the amount.

If the member fails to meet the payment terms based on the consolidated loan agreement, the SSS will deduct the outstanding balance of the consolidated loan from the short-term benefits (sickness, maternity, or partial disability benefit claims) and final benefits (permanent total disability, death, retirement), as authorized by the Social Security Commission.

Regino said the outstanding balance of the consolidated loan can also be deducted from the death benefit of the members’ beneficiaries or deduct it from the actual final benefit claims.

While the SSS wanted to collect the past-due loans, Regino said they recognize the pandemic’s impact on the livelihood of its members.

“At this point, they might already be able to pay their loan obligations. Hence, we designed this consolidated program to help them settle their loan obligations by condoning the penalties and offering flexible payment terms,” he added. (PNA)