GSIS scraps stringent rules on survivorship pension


GSIS scraps stringent rules on survivorship pension
By CHINO S. LEYCO
December 11, 2010, 1:06am

MANILA, Philippines – Next year promises to be a better year for old-age and survivorship pensioners of the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) after the newly-constituted Board of Trustees reversed some of the stringent rules on the qualification for survivorship pension that has prevented them from enjoying this benefit.

The new board issued a resolution which will allow surviving spouses of members and pensioners to receive their monthly pension benefits even if they are gainfully employed and receiving other sources of income.

The directive removes provisions in the revised Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the GSIS Charter (RA 8291), which disqualified surviving spouses from getting the usual half of the GSIS pensioners monthly benefit if the spouse earns more than the minimum wage rate of national government employees or is getting pension from other institutions, no matter what amount.

This controversial provision in the IRR argues that a surviving spouse must be “dependent for support” on the deceased pensioners and is not “gainfully employed” to get the survivorship benefit. In removing the restrictions to qualify for survivorship pension, the board recognized that “gainful employment” does not imply that a surviving spouse is no longer dependent for support upon the deceased member or pensioner.

The Family Code clearly defines that “support comprises everything indispensable for sustenance, dwelling, clothing, medical attendance, education and transportation, in keeping with the financial capacity of the family.”

The strict qualifications on who gets the survivorship pension is also widely perceived to be a move to further preserve the funds of the GSIS and lengthen its actuarial life. However, the GSIS Board pointed out that “while actuarial stability of the System is of paramount importance, GSIS remains a social service institution which must meet the needs of its members and pensioners.”

The Board however, placed a cap on the survivorship pension to avoid unusually large disparities in pension benefits. In either case, the basic survivorship pension or the total pension to be received by the dependent children shall not exceed 50 percent of the current salary of an undersecretary at Step 1 of the salary matrix under the Salary Standardization Law and its amendments.

Payment of the basic survivorship pension to the dependent spouse shall be discontinued in case the latter remarries, cohabits, or engages in common-law relationship.

Source: The Manila Bulletin Newspaper Online http://t.co/6ddvFh3

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