To save time and money, state-run Social Security System (SSS) reminded retiree pensioners in the Philippines who are 84 years old that they are no longer required to do the Annual Confirmation of Pensioners (ACOP) to continuously receive their monthly pension.
“The waiver of the ACOP requirement for retiree pensioners here in the Philippines is one of our ways to bring better quality service to our dear members. This new guideline will allow our pensioners to save time and money. It will also lessen the number of transactions in our branches,” SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Emmanuel F. Dooc said.
ACOP is a program which requires pensioners to report annually to SSS or their depository banks to ensure the continuous payment of their benefits. It was implemented in 2012 to avoid circumstances where benefits are being received by persons other than the rightful beneficiaries.
In lieu of the ACOP, the SSS will instead conduct a verification procedure to confirm whether they are still alive or not and are entitled to SSS benefits.
Dooc stressed, however, the ACOP is still required for retiree pensioners based abroad, total disability pensioners in the Philippines, survivor pensioners, and minor or incapacitated dependent pensioners.
While retiree pensioners in the Philippines who are 85 years old and above and survivor pensioners who cannot report personally due to sickness, illness, or injury will still be checked through a mandatory home visit by SSS employees.
Based on SSS Circular No. 2017-012, the schedule of compliance for retiree pensioners residing abroad and total disability pensioners is on their birth month; survivor pensioners on the birth month of the deceased member; while minor or incapacitated dependent pensioners should comply with their guardian on the birth month of the member or deceased member.
In addition, early compliance with ACOP, which is six months before the scheduled date is allowed if the pensioner reported for ACOP during the previous year.
Medical Fieldwork Service (MFS) or the home visit by SSS doctors may also be provided for total disability pensioners.
SSS reminded its pensioners that non-compliance with ACOP will result in the automatic suspension of their pension a month after the birth month of the pensioner or SSS member.
“Resumption of pension will take at least two months from the date of compliance of the pensioner. To avoid disruption in the receipt of benefits, please don’t forget to comply with the ACOP on your scheduled date,” said Dooc.
Dooc added that all recalled pensions, if any, and all accrued pension shall be remitted to the pensioner’s depository bank for crediting to the pensioner’s account after compliance.
The SSS also advised pensioners who are residing abroad to make use of the ACOP through Video Conference (ACOP-VC) facility for easier and faster compliance with ACOP.
The ACOP-VC is launched in December 2015 exclusively for SSS pensioners abroad to comply with the annual reporting without the need to come home or have their documents authenticated by the Philippine consulate abroad prior to submission to the SSS.
To use the ACOP-VC, a pensioner must have a “SKYPE” account to do an online interview. The ACOP-VC interview must be conducted within the birth month of the retiree pensioner or the deceased member in case of death pension.
The pensioner needs to make an appointment with SSS by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or to email@example.com indicating in the subject line “Skype (ACOP), pensioner’s name and SS number”.
As of end-February 2018, total number of pensioners have reached 2.3 million and the SSS has so far released P10.4 billion as pension benefit for pensioners.