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Friday, May 15, 2015

SSS to accept applicants for PESO program

By Claro A. Lanipa

PAGADIAN CITY – The Social Security System (SSS) will soon be accepting applications for its Personal Equity and Savings Option (PESO) Fund program, a provident-fund scheme that aims to increase savings among SSS members, particularly for building their retirement fund.

SSS-Pagadian Branch head James Buckly said this program is open to all members who are 54 years old and below, and have at least six consecutive contributions under the SSS regular program within the last 12 months prior to enrolment.

The member’s effective date of membership commences at the month a contribution is first made to the SSS-PESO fund, Buckly asserted.

“Members may participate for an initial contribution of P1,000 with succeeding contributions of at least P1,000 or more in multiple of P100. An SSS-PESO member can  contribute up to a maximum of P100,000 per year, Buckly said.
Interested members are required to personally appear before any SSS branch office or authorized representative to sign the accomplished forms for confirmation.

“This procedure allows us to verify the authenticity of the document and the identity of the applicant,” Buckly explained.

By September 2015, all SSS branches nationwide will accept applications to the SSS-PESO fund. Enrolment may be done online through the My.SSS portal.

The program’s guidelines which were released recently, stated that employed members, regardless of the amount of their current monthly contributions, could join the SSS-PESO Fund while self-employed, voluntary and OFW members should be paying the maximum SSS contribution to be able to contribute in the SSS-PESO Fund.

The guidelines further stated that there has to be a corresponding SSS contribution on the month the member will make contributions to the SSS-PESO Fund account.

Refunds, withdrawals or benefit claim will be credited to the member’s single savings or current accounts with a SSS depository bank. Early termination of membership is not allowed, Buckly clarified.

SSS members can enjoy higher return on their savings under the tax-free fund, which offers guaranteed earnings that are based on rates higher than those offered in a savings account or bank deposit.

SSS-PESO savings are allocated to three accounts namely, retirement, medical and general puspose, which covers education, housing, livelihood and unemployment. Only the portion allotted for medical and general purpose can be withdrawn before the member’s date of retirement.

A corresponding management fee will be charged for each SSS-PESO account while penalties will be charged for any withdrawals made before the fifth year of membership in the SSS-PESO Fund.

SSS-PESO Fund members may also receive additional earnings depending on the actual income of the fund at the end of each year.