Drilon lauds SSS pension hike but says contribution increase is illegal

While the decision of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte to approve the PHP1,000 hike in the monthly pension of all pensioners under the Social Security System (SSS) is “commendable”, Senate Pres. Pro-Tempore Franklin Drilon on Wednesday said that raising the monthly contribution of members is illegal.

“The President’s move to help our aging SSS pensioners is laudable, but the executive branch must also ensure that this pension hike will not be used as an excuse to enforce higher contributions from SSS members,” Drilon said.

Drilon, a lawyer and former justice secretary, cited Section 4 of Republic Act No. 8282, which prohibits SSS to recommend increase in benefits that would require an increase in contribution.

“The SSS is not allowed to raise the premium rates so it can increase benefits,” Drilon said.

He explained that the increase in benefits of pensioners should not come from a similar increase in the burden shouldered by current SSS contributors.

The senator said that SSS can only implement an increase in the benefits of its members, subject to the approval of the President, “if such increase is based on the actuarial soundness of the reserve fund” and as “such shall not require any increase in the rate contribution.”