Seniors urge DSWD to stop ‘social pension’
A group of senior citizens on Sunday called on the Department of Social Work and Development (DSWD) to temporarily suspend the “social pension” for indigent citizens.
The Coalition of Services for the Elderly Inc. (Cose) said that while the essence of the 2010 Expanded Senior Citizens Act was good, the poorest of the poor did not always benefit from it.
“We have received reports that some of those receiving the social pension are not indigents, while none of our members have ever received this pension,” said Fransiskus Kupang, Cose executive director.
Cose, along with Age Demands Action and Help Age International, held a press conference on Saturday to coincide with the celebration of Elderly Filipino Week.
Republic Act No. 9994—the 2010 Expanded Senior Citizens Act—prescribes, among other discounts and benefits, a “social pension” for poor indigents.
Those qualified to receive the pension are elderly poor who do not receive any other form of remuneration, among other requirements.
Kupang said the law mandates that each qualified beneficiary should receive P500 a month or P1,500 per quarter.
But none of their members, who come from urban poor communities, have received any pension at all, he said.
“We received reports that some of those who got the pension were not poor. So the heart of the law is good but it doesn’t benefit the poor,” he said.
The group called on the DSWD to review its procedures for choosing the beneficiaries to make sure they are really indigent elderly and badly in need of the money.
Cose, Kupang said, is asking the government to update its data on who is actually qualified to receive the pension.
Cose is also seeking to lower the age requirement for those qualified to receive the social pension from 77 to 60.
“Indigent people rarely ever reach the age of 77 and above because of circumstances,” said Kupang.
He said the DSWD should also ask senior citizen groups for help in coming up with the list, as these groups at the grassroots level would know who are entitled to the pension.
“It is not a matter of a lack of funds, but how the law is implemented,” he said.
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