MANILA — The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) has urged the Social Security System (SSS) to immediately give back to its member-borrowers some P980 million in individual loan overpayments.
“It is not right for the SSS to keep the money. Best governance practices compel the pension fund to promptly return the money to member-borrowers who were unfairly overburdened by excessive salary deductions,” said TUCP secretary-general and former Senator Ernesto Herrera.
“In fact, the SSS should return the money plus a reasonable interest,” added Herrera, former chairman of the Senate committee on labor, employment and human resources development.
Herrera was reacting to a Commission on Audit (COA) report that the SSS over-collected an aggregate of P979.49 million in salary, educational, calamity, job separation and emergency loan repayments from a total of 2,191,005 individual member-borrowers.
“It is not fair for the SSS to hold on to the overpayments indefinitely. The money does not belong to the SSS. The funds rightfully belong to the member-borrowers,” Herrera said.
The overpayments translate into a simple average of P447 per member-borrower.
“The simple average returnable amount per member-borrower may not be that large. Nonetheless, what is important is the act of actually returning the money to the member-borrowers,” Herrera pointed out.
The COA report also noted that refunds other than those for death, disability and retirement benefit over-deductions were being made by the SSS only upon receipt of a formal request from the member.
Herrera said the SSS should, on its own accord, refund any extra deduction, without having to wait for a written request from the member.
“In fact, the SSS should inform in writing every member-borrower of any overpayment, and specify the exact amount overpaid,” said Herrera, a former SSS commissioner representing the labor sector.
“If the SSS can send the refund check together with the overpayment notice, then so much the better,” Herrera said.