April 13, 2024

Department of Social Welfare and Development Asec. Romel Lopez said the agency is on time when it comes to the distribution of the P500 monthly social pension to all indigent senior citizens.

Lopez made this clarification following reports that the DSWD is facing a cash aid distribution backlog of up to 466,000 senior citizens.

“There are no backlogs on social pension payouts to the more than 4.1 million indigent seniors,” he said.

Lopez said the 466,000 indigent senior citizens are “would-be beneficiaries” requiring additional funding before they are included in the social pension program.

“Perhaps, there might be a mix-up regarding the backlog as it is not related to any delays in our payouts. Up to now, our payouts for senior citizens have been on time. We do not have any backlog in terms of payment,” he said.

Lopez said the funds the social pension program for 2023 only cover the more than 4.1 million senior citizens, each receiving P500 monthly stipends.

He said only around 93,000 of the over 4.1 million senior citizens have been removed from the list due to some reasons such as death of the beneficiary.

“The discrepancy between the waitlisted individuals and those exiting from the program is very far, and that is the primary reason why we currently have a backlog,” he added.

Lopez said the budget increase for the social pension program in 2024 will only cover the additional PHP500 to the current monthly stipend of the indigent senior citizens in accordance with Republic Act 11916 or an “Act Increasing the Social Pension of Indigent Senior Citizens.”

The P500 additional pension, he said, will also be given starting next year once the proposed 2024 budget is approved.

RA 11916, which lapsed into law in July 2022, provides for a 100 percent increase in the monthly pension of indigent senior citizens from P500 to P1,000.

Lopez said eligible senior citizens should fall within the following criteria to receive social pension: frail, sickly or with a disability; without pension from the Social Security System, Government Service Insurance System or from any sources of pension in government and private agencies; and without any permanent source of income, compensation or financial assistance from relatives to support their basic needs. The social pension program aims to augment the daily subsistence and other medical needs of indigent senior citizens. – PNA