All old-age and disability pensioners of Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) who were receiving less than P5,000 is now receiving the new monthly minimum pension of P5,000, according to GSIS Trustee Mario J. Aguja during a forum on GSIS Reforms and Initiatives on March 11, 2013 in Gen. Santos City.

Trustee Aguja answers participants’ queries on GSIS services.

Among the information officers and media practitioners in attendance, Aguja stressed that this is only one among the many initiatives undertaken by the new GSIS Board with their commitment for a ‘more Aside from the increased pension, GSIS also revoked the personal appearance requirement for pensioners.

Instead, they now partner with the National Statistics Office to determine status of members.
To make services more accessible, GSIS is deploying 500 additional GSIS Wireless Automated Processing System (GWAPS) Kiosks in the country.

Survivorship pensioners who were previously denied of their benefits because of gainful employment (earning P7,575 equivalent to Salary Grade 1, Step 1) can now receive monthly pension. According to Aguja, more than 6,000 surviving spouses whose pensions have been stopped since August 2009 benefitted from the new survivorship policy.

Moreover, interest rate on emergency loans was reduced to 6%, service fee was waived, and grace period for payment of the first amortization was extended to three months.  

Other initiatives include: renewed partnership with LandBank as additional service bank; relaxed the policy on the 4-year prescription period for survivorship benefit; revived the payment of proportionate pension; rationalized the home lending program; enhanced scholarship program; increased minimum pension to P5,000; settlement of claims of Paz Memorial plan holders; etc.

The new GSIS Board also proposes for the amendment of R.A. 8291 or the GSIS Act of 1997 to allow single members to designate beneficiary before age 50; remove remarriage and cohabitation as basis for cancellation of survivorship benefits; give members option to continue membership beyond age 65; provide members with an option to claim separation benefit before age 60; increase funeral benefit from P20,000 to P30,000; and for provision on members’ rights.

“We are also actively conducting pre-retirement counseling seminars to assist members in computing lump-sum and pensions, modes of retirement, and even investment possibilities” said GSIS Gen. Santos Manager Deity Manampan.

GSIS Dialogues are being conducted nationwide to disseminate information on the agency’s new reforms. GSIS now has at least 1.7 million members across the country.

Jezereel C. Billano