The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) supports move to strengthen the social pension system for indigent senior citizens in the country to better protect the elderly in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Due to the increasing needs for health and daily subsistence of older persons, several bills have been filed in both houses of Congress that aim to increase the monthly social pension for indigent senior citizens, which is currently at P500.00 per month as provided for under Republic Act (RA) 9994 or the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010.
The Department emphasized that indigent seniors in the country are in need of more assistance, especially in the midst of the current crisis caused by the pandemic. The proposed increase in the pension benefit will be a big help to augment the needs of poor seniors, who are among the sectors that are mostly-affected by the current crisis. The proposed measures also complement the efforts of DSWD to better protect the rights and promote the welfare of the elderly amid the pandemic.
Meanwhile, DSWD’s programs and services for older persons shall be transferred to the newly-created National Commission of Senior Citizens as mandated by RA No. 11350 which was signed on July 25, 2019. The Commission will undertake the various developments, both on programs and the administrative aspects, specifically the country’s pension system to better protect the elderly from various cases.
DSWD, in coordination with local government units, implements the Social Pension for Indigent Senior Citizens provided for under RA 9994. The program provides monthly stipend amounting to P500 to indigent senior citizens to augment their daily subsistence and other medical needs. It is distributed on a semestral basis at P3,000 per semester or P500 per month for six (6) months.
The law specifies that seniors qualified to receive social pension are those who are frail, sickly or with disability; without any pension from other government agencies; and without a permanent source of income or source of financial assistance/compensation to support their basic needs.
DSWD emphasized that it will support and implement measures that would be passed by the Congress in the provision of additional benefits and privileges to senior citizens, as it recognizes the contributions of older persons in nation-building, providing the foundation and laying the groundwork for today’s society. ###