More senior citizens to benefit from expanded social pension program

By Joanne Namnama G. Parrocha, PIA 1, La Union

SAN FERNANDO CITY – More senior citizens will be covered by the government’s social pension fund with the approval of a provision lowering the age requirement of qualified indigents from 77 to 65 years old.

Geselle Cipriano, social welfare officer of the Department of Social Welfare and Development in Region 1, said the social pension program will cover more poor elderly individuals from the current record of 39,763 senior citizens in the four Ilocos provinces receiving a monthly support of P500 each.

“We hope that more social pensioners will benefit from this new provision,” said Cipriano.

Based on DSWD records the monthly support is currently enjoyed by elderly citizens in Pangasinan with 21,191; Ilocos Sur with 7,092; La Union with 6,541 and Ilocos Norte with 4,939.

The social pension is one of DSWD’s social protection programs that provides financial assistance to eligible indigent senior citizens.

Cipriano said those qualified are senior citizens who are frail, sickly, or have disabilities; not receiving pension from Social Security System (SSS), Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), or Veterans Pension; and do not have a permanent source of income or regular support from family or relatives.

“Our pensioners commonly use their stipend to buy basic needs such as medicines and food,” Cipriano said.

At present, a total of 125 local government units (LGUs) distribute the financial aid to the indigent senior citizens whose names are officially listed under DSWD’s National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR) or in LGU-validated order of payment.

Meanwhile, a program implementation review will be conducted on February 24 to 27 in Baguio City where all focal persons of the Social Pension program nationwide will attend.#