(PN File Photo)

The Social Security System (SSS) began notifying SSS members via text messages of late payments or past due on their short-term member loans, such as salary or calamity loans, starting last month so they could eventually renew their SSS loans after paying them off.

SSS Senior Vice President for Lending and Asset Management Group Pedro T. Baoy emphasized the significance of the new SMS notifications, saying, “SSS will now regularly issue these messages to its loan borrowers, ensuring they are promptly reminded whenever they miss their loan payments or have loans that have remained unsettled after its maturity.”

Baoy encouraged SSS members to log in to their My.SSS account to check if their previous approved loans have been fully settled to avoid penalties.

However, Baoy clarified that SSS member-borrowers who are consistently updated on their monthly loan amortizations will not receive these payment notices.

Baoy said SSS started sending payment notifications last month to remind members-borrowers of the due dates for their monthly loan payments.

“We send loan billing statements to our member-borrowers through their registered email address. However, unlike reading text messages, most members do not open their email inboxes. Most of them carry their mobile phones wherever they go, so we saw text alerts as a great way to remind them,” Baoy said.

Baoy said that SSS sends these payment notices to help member-borrowers avoid accumulating penalties for late payments and regain their good standing with the SSS so they can reapply for loans.

“If they miss their loan payments, they will be charged a one-percent monthly penalty on unpaid principal and interest until fully paid. If their loan remains unsettled for over five years, the incurred penalties will exceed the outstanding principal amount and interest. We do not want that to happen to our member-borrowers, so we are helping them avoid reaching that situation,” Baoy explained.

Check loan records
Baoy advised members to be vigilant and regularly check their SSS loan records by accessing their My.SSS account. “If they do not have a My.SSS account, we suggest seeking assistance from our e-centers located in our branch offices.”

He also reminded them that whenever they transfer to a new employer, they must inform their new employer about their existing loan obligations with the SSS and allow them to deduct loan payments from their salary, including any interest or penalty incurred due to late remittance.

Avail of Conso Loan Program
Baoy strongly encouraged SSS members with unpaid short-term member loans to take advantage of the Consolidation of Past Due Short-Term Member Loans with Condonation of Penalty (Conso Loan), which allows them to consolidate their loan obligations, making it easier to manage their payments and avoid penalties.

Baoy said SSS will combine the principal and interest of a member’s past-due short-term member loans into one consolidated loan. “At the same time, all unpaid penalties shall be consolidated and condoned or waived upon full payment of the consolidated loan.”

Baoy said members with outstanding loan obligations in their salary, calamity, emergency, and restructured loans, including the Salary Loan Early Renewal Program (SLERP), may submit their application for the condonation program using their My.SSS account.

Under the program, he explained that they can pay their consolidated obligations loan through a one-time payment or an installment plan.

“For the installment scheme, they must pay a down payment equivalent to at least 10% of the consolidated loan and pay the remaining balance for up to 60 months, wherein the length of the installment term depends on the amount of the unpaid loan,” he said.

He concluded that members with unpaid loans should grab this opportunity to pay their loan obligations while the program lasts.