Does life get any better with age? It should be, had it not been for the outbreak of COVID-19. The lockdowns and preventative measures implemented have isolated individuals, and affected everyone especially the indigent elderlies who have limited access to basic services and physical and mental healthcare. Though these measures are but necessary to minimize the spread of the virus, the negative physical, psychological, and social effects are definitely undeniable.
Social Pension offsite payouts continue
DSWD FO5 never fails to deliver its social services to the Bicolanos, not even during this pandemic. Its commitment to topnotch and timely service delivery has always been exceptional. It has considered the needs of the senior citizens even before the rise of the health crisis as it had pushed for offsite payouts as the fastest mode of release as early as February 2021.
Social Pension or SocPen is a program for Indigent Senior Citizens in the Philippines under Republic Act No. 9994 or the “Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010” which entitles a qualified beneficiary to receive a monthly stipend of Php500 per month to augment their daily subsistence and other medical needs being released on a semestral basis amounting to Php3,000.
CY 2021 is the 11th year of implementation of the Social Pension for Indigent Seniors. The program has already served 254,526 or 93.08% of the total target with an amount of Php 763,578,000.00 for the 1st semester, and 227,352 or 83.14% of the target with an amount of Php 682,056,000.00 for the 2nd semester. Overall accomplishment as of November 4, 2021 is 88.10% or 240,939 served beneficiaries.
Unclaimed pensions explained
Seniors were encouraged to send their authorized representatives instead of coming to the venue themselves for safety reasons. Still, not all stipends were claimed during the first semester. Some were unable to come due to granular lockdowns and home quarantine measures; others were already bedridden with no authorized representatives to claim on their behalf. Unclaimed pensions due to non-appearance were added up for the next semester’s release. Those who were not able to claim during the first semester payout received the accumulated pension during the second semester payout.
Unconditional Cash Transfer released
The program had likewise facilitated payouts for the Tax Reform Cash Transfer or the Unconditional Cash Transfer (TRCT/UCT) Social Pension for CY 2019 implementation in partnership with LBP since January 2021. Out of the 209,122 target number of beneficiaries downloaded by the UCT-NPMO (National Program Management Office), 174,190 or 83.30% were served amounting to Php 627,084,000.00.
SocPen validation for possible inclusion to the program continues
Field Office 5 continues its validation of the remaining senior citizens who are still under the waiting list of the LGUs. This is to ensure that once there are social pensioners for delisting, the LGU and the Field Office can easily identify who among the validated waitlisted senior citizens can be replacements to the delisted ones.
As of 3 September 2021, the program has validated 20,692 senior citizen applicants for the Social Pension out of the 17,443 targets.
Adherence to Health Protocols
DSWD assures the public of the most efficient way of delivering the services to our elderlies via offsite payment through our Special Disbursing Officers (SDOs) and paymasters, and guarantees that social distancing measures and other safety protocols are strictly observed. The Department strongly encourages the beneficiaries who still have with them relatives to send them as their authorized representatives instead of claiming their pensions themselves.