If there’s a reset button for the year 2020, we would all be rushing to the stores to buy one right now. We can dream but it’s best not to lose touch with reality.
Businesses closed. Other organizations streamlined their resources. Family savings hit rock bottom. Once we learn to accept our situation, we can start planning how to recover.
You might not be aware but there are financial programs offered by the government to help Filipinos make it through the crisis. GoBear curated a list of these aids which you might want to consider looking at to help you get back on your feet this year.
SSS Unemployment Benefit
The Social Security System (SSS) crafted the Unemployment Benefit (UB) for members who have been involuntarily separated from work. This covers all employees, including house help and overseas Filipino workers (OFWs). It may be due to retrenchment, downsizing, closure or cessation of operation, installation of labor-saving devices, redundancy, etc.
The following are qualified to avail of this benefit.
- Member should not be over 60 years old at the time of involuntary separation;
- If an underground or surface mineworker, a member should not be over 50 years old at the time of involuntary separation; and not over 55 years old if a racehorse jockey;
- Member has paid at least 36 monthly contributions (12 months of which should be in the 18-month period immediately preceding the month of involuntary separation)
- The benefit is granted thru a one-time payment.
- It must be filed within a year from the date of involuntary separation
- The qualified member is entitled to an amount equivalent to twice the half of the member’s average monthly salary credit.
- The amount will be credited to the members’ Unified Multi-Purpose ID (UMID) card or Unionbank Quick Card
- Valid ID
- Certification from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE)
- Certification from Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) for OFWs
- Notice of Termination or Affidavit of Termination
The increasing Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases in the Philippines prompted the government to declare a State of Public Health Emergency throughout the country in March of this year. This alerted government agencies to give qualified members access to calamity loans.
Calamity loans are usually offered by these offices when a natural disaster hits the country. In the past, these were limited to residents of areas that incurred damages. The applicants should then provide a certification from their local government units to prove that they are affected. In this pandemic, every Filipino is affected. This is why the government relaxed the terms and requirements for the calamity loans.
Read on to find out if what you need to prepare to avail of these programs.
GSIS emergency loan
The Government Service Insurance System (SSS) raised the limit to the total amount of loan which its members and pensioners may avail. For those who have no existing loans, members and pensioners can borrow up to Php20,000.
In some areas, however, residents might already have an existing emergency loan because of the recent natural disasters. For example, members from Batangas Province have been qualified to avail of an emergency loan on January-February 2020 because of the Taal Eruption. This means they can still borrow another maximum of Php20,000 from GSIS due to the COVID-19 crisis.
The loan can be repaid in a 36-month installment scheme with an interest rate of 6% per annum. The first due date of the loan shall be on the 10th day of the third month following the granting of the loan.
The requirements differ for members and pensioners.
Active GSIS members shall be qualified to avail of an Emergency Loan (EL) provided the following conditions are met:
Member-borrower is a bona fide employee of the agency located in a declared calamity area or is a resident of a declared calamity area, based on latest GSIS records as of the time of declaration of calamity;
Member-borrower is in active service and not on leave of absence without pay;
Member-borrower should have paid and remitted premiums equivalent to at least three (3) monthly premium contributions for both Personal and Government share within the last six (6) months prior to application (September 2019 to February 2020).
Member-borrower has no pending administrative case and/or criminal charge;
Member-borrower with outstanding GSIS loan that is due and demandable may avail of the emergency loan; and
ÅMember-borrower has a resulting monthly net take-home pay of not lower than the amount required under the General Appropriations Act, after all the required monthly obligations, including the EL amortization, have been deducted.
Active old-age and disability pensioners shall be qualified to avail of an Emergency Loan (EL) provided the following conditions are met:
Pensioner-borrower is a resident of a declared calamity area, based on latest GSIS records as of the time of declaration of calamity; and
Pensioner-borrower has a resulting net monthly pension of at least twenty-five percent (25%) of the basic monthly pension (BMP) after deducting his/her EL amortization.
Members may apply via www.gsis.gov.ph or through the GSIS Wireless Automated Processing System (GWAPS) kiosks located in all branches of GSIS, offices of the Department of Education (DepEd), provincial capitols, city halls, Robinson’s Malls and selected SM Supermalls.
Pensioners should only apply online. Here are the links to the downloadable forms:
For active members: https://bit.ly/3ikKIDl
For pensioners: https://bit.ly/2VvFw5V
Once the loan is approved, the money will be credited to the member’s UMID card or temporary eCard.
SSS Calamity Loan Assistance Program (CLAP)
SSS recently made available the online application of calamity loan for its more than 1.74 million member-borrowers.
Members can loan up to Php20,000 depending on your monthly salary credit. This can be paid within 24 months. The payment starts three months after the loan has been granted. CLAPs usually have a 10% per annum interest. This has been lowered to 6% because of the crisis.
For a member to be qualified in availing of the loan, he or she must meet the following requirements.
- have at least 36 monthly contributions, six of which should be posted within the last 12 months before the application;
- have a work or home address within the Philippines as reflected in the SSS database;
- have not been granted any final benefit such as total permanent disability or retirement; and
- have no outstanding loans under the Loan Restructuring Program or previous CLAPs.
The application can only be done by registering at the My.SSS web portal on the SSS website (www.sss.gov.ph). Once registered, follow the steps below.
- Click the E-SERVICES tab and choose “Apply for Calamity Loan”
- Fill-out the needed information.
- Choose what channel would you prefer to receive your loan: UMID card enrolled as an ATM, Union Bank of the Philippines Quick Card, or through check sent to a preferred mailing address.
Loans and benefits are credited faster via online banking. To enroll your bank account, go to the E-SERVICES tab, and choose “Bank Enrollment.” You will then be asked to enter your bank name and account number.
Pag-IBIG calamity loan
Members of the Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF) who live or work in areas placed under Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) during the pandemic are qualified to avail of Pag-IBIG Calamity Loan. Applicants should at least have 24 months of total contributions. At least one month of contribution should have been paid within the last six (6) months.
Qualified members can borrow up to 80% of their Pag-IBIG Regular Savings which is composed of their total monthly contributions, employer’s counterpart, and the dividends earned by these contributions.
Follow this process to apply for a calamity loan:
- Download the Calamity Loan application from Pag-IBIG Fund website or here. Accomplish and print the form. Have it signed by two (2) witnesses.
- Scan or take a photo of the application form and send it to your HR or authorized representative. If you do not have a printer, you can fill out the fillable form online and save it as a PDF. There’s no need for your signature. Send the PDF file to your employer. They have to print this and sign the Application Agreement portion. Your company should send the form back to you.
- Scan or take a photo of your valid ID. Do the same with your Landbank, DBP, UCPB Cashcard, or Loyalty Card Plus, whichever is available. If you are using a Loyalty Card Plus, make sure to capture the photo of the front and back of the card.
- Send the accomplished and sign application form along with the scanned ID and cashcard to Pag-IBIG Fund’s email address. Your employer may also do this for you. The e-mail address depends on where your employer’s main office is located.
Applicants for the calamity loan need not send their payslips. The employers’ signature will suffice in proving that you are capable of repaying the loan.
It will take 7-20 days for Pag-IBIG Fund to process the application and credit it to your cashcard. You will receive a confirmation via text message. Pag-IBIG Fund will not deduct a processing fee for this.
The calamity loan may be paid within 24 months with an interest rate of 5.95% per annum. The first month of payment will be deferred.
Pag-IBIG multipurpose loan
Pag-IBIG Fund’s Multipurpose Loan (MPL) is a cash loan designed by the office to help members with any immediate financial need. This means, even if your area has not been classified under ECQ during the COVID-19 crisis, you are still qualified to avail of the loan.
You should at least have 24 monthly savings (contributions). One contribution should be made within the last six (6 months).
The filing process for MPL is the same as that of the Pag-IBIG Calamity Loan. The application form can be downloaded here. A step-by-step guide is available in this link.
Member-borrowers with existing MPLs and Calamity Loans may still apply for another MPL. However, the remaining balance of the existing loan will be subtracted from the new loan.
SSS Salary Loan
If the calamity loan is not enough, SSS members can also apply for a separate salary loan. It is granted to employed, currently-paying self-employed or voluntary members.
The following are the qualifications set by the SSS for member-borrowers:
1. All currently employed, currently contributing self-employed or voluntary member.
For a one-month loan, the member-borrower must have thirty-six (36) posted monthly contributions, six (6) of which should be within the last twelve (12) months prior to the month of filing of the application.
For a two-month loan, the member-borrower must have seventy-two (72) posted monthly contributions, six (6) of which should be within the last twelve (12) months prior to the month of filing of the application.
2. The member-borrower whose employer must be updated in the payment of contributions.
3. The member-borrower has not been granted the final benefit, i.e., total permanent disability, retirement, and death
4. The member-borrower must be under sixty-five (65) years of age at the time of application
5. The member-borrower has not been disqualified due to fraud committed against the SSS.
Below are the terms of the loan.
1. A one-month salary loan is equivalent to the average of the member-borrower's latest posted 12 Monthly Salary Credits (MSCs), or amount applied for, whichever is lower.
2. A two-month salary loan is equivalent to twice the average of the member-borrower's latest posted 12 MSCs, rounded to the next higher monthly salary credit, or amount applied for, whichever is lower.
3. The net amount of the loan shall be the difference between the approved loan amount and all outstanding balance of short-term member loans.
1. The loan shall be payable within two (2) years in 24 monthly installments.
2. The monthly amortization shall start on the 2nd month following the date of the loan
1. A service fee of 1% of the loan amount shall be charged and deducted from the proceeds of the loan.
To apply for a salary loan, follow these steps.
- Go to the SSS website (www.sss.gov.ph).
- Log-in as a member with your User ID and password. Click submit.
- Click the E-SERVICES tab.
- Choose “Apply for Salary Loan.” You will know that you are eligible for the loan when a loanable amount and local mailing address will be displayed. You can opt for a lower amount.
- After carefully reading the terms and conditions of the loan, click the box for “I agree to the Terms of Services.” Click PROCEED.
- View, download or print the Loan Disclosure Statement.
- Click submit.
- Once granted, the loan will be credited to the UMID card or Unionbank Quick Card. Otherwise, a check will be sent to your mailing address. You can update your mailing address by going to the My.SSS Beta Portal or by downloading the SSS Mobile App.
After completing the process, you will be notified of your loan application status via email. SSS will also send a notification via SMS after the salary loan has been approved.
For a first-time borrower, taking out a huge loan can be overwhelming. The upside in government loans is that the amortization is spread thinly that most borrowers don’t even feel them being deducted from their salaries or from their budgets. These government agencies are not like loan sharks who call you in the most inconvenient times and collect payment in a disruptive manner.
If you are still having second thoughts, maybe you should consider quick loans for a quick fix. Dip your toes in the water first. Tell yourself that you will get back on your feet and on dry land again.