The Social Security System (SSS) in the Philippines provides for a death benefit for the qualified beneficiaries of a member who has passed away. The amount of this pension depends on the member’s contribution and provision of the benefit depends on certain factors, including the dependent children’s age and marital status.
But not many Filipinos know that the SSS benefit can actually be cut off if the late member’s spouse gets married again or enters into a common law (live in) relationship!
A widow in Bacolod City has sought the assistance of GMA News 24 Oras’ “Sumbungan ng Bayan” segment after her pension was cut off just because she already has a new boyfriend.
Teresita Cahulao’s husband died in 1990 due to stroke. The couple had been married for 20 years and were blessed with seven children. Since 1992, Teresita has been receiving Php4,000 per month as part of her husband’s death benefit.
In 2006, the pension was suddenly cut off without notice. Teresita went to the SSS office to report the matter but was told that she could no longer receive state benefits because she already has a new boyfriend.
At the time, Teresita has been a widow for 16 years. She claimed that she had filed for an SSS ID that year and was asked whether she has a boyfriend. She honestly answered the employee’s question, admitting she has one but they are not yet married. She further claimed she was asked to sign a blank sheet of paper.
But SSS Visayas West 1 Division Division Head Lilani Benedian denies Teresita’s claim, saying all pensioners are required to sign the annual confirmation of pensioners (ACOP) form every year but there are no blanks there.
Dr. Lilani clarified, however, that based on SSS rules, benefits are cut off once the spouse remarries or enters a common-law relationship because the pension was meant as support for the late member’s dependents.
She also added that the SSS does not automatically cancel the pension unless it is supported by a valid complaint or report, something that they usually receive from the surviving spouse’s in-laws.
Watch the report here: