MANILA, Aug. 30 (PNA) — Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Corazon J. Soliman said on Sunday they are proposing to lower to 60 years the age of indigent senior citizens qualified to receive the monthly social pension from the government.
“For the 2016 budget, we are proposing to lower to 60 years the current age requirement of 65 years and above for indigent senior citizens to qualify for the social pension,” Secretary Soliman said during the “Mamamayan, Mamayani Galing Pook Good Governance Fair” held at the SMEX Convention Hall of the SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City.
She said that if the proposal will be approved, more disadvantaged elderly Filipinos can have extra cash for their basic needs such as medicines and foods.
It may be recalled that the Congress had approved the proposal to lower the pension eligibility age to 65 from the previous 77 years in the 2015 budget.
The DSWD’s Social Pension Program gives a PhP500 monthly allowance to qualified indigent senior citizens as mandated by Republic Act No. 9994 or the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010.
The stipend is given to augment the daily subsistence and other medical needs of senior citizens.
Based on the law, indigent citizens who are 60 years old and above are entitled to monthly pension to cover their needs in their old age as a way of giving back to their role and contribution in the country during their years of productivity.
However, due to the government’s limited financial resources, only those who are 77 years old and above were covered by the law up to 2014.
Last year, the DSWD’s proposal to lower the age qualification to 65 was approved by the Senate and the House of Representatives and included in the General Appropriations Act of 2015.
For this year, the government has allocated PhP5.962 billion to benefit 939,609 senior citizens aged 65 years and above nationwide.
Last year’s allocation was only PhP3.108 billion.
Indigent senior citizen are entitled to receive PhP500 monthly pension under the conditions that they are frail, sickly or with disabilities; do not have regular support from relatives and no permanent source of income; and are not receiving pension from the SSS, GSIS or Veterans pension. (PNA)