Saturday, March 03, 2007

GSIS gave P.5b to false claimants yearly

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (Ben Balce / March 3)The Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) is purging its list pensioners so half a billion pesos would not go to false claims yearly officials said yesterday.

Edgar Eduardo, GSIS vice president for field operations for Visayas and Mindanao, said GSIS uncovered a financial leakage when it started computerizing its database of spouses and children of deceased GSIS pensioners.

Beneficiaries of “survivorship pension” are entitled to benefits as long as surviving spouses does not re-marry and the children-beneficiaries have not reached 18 years old.

Eduardo said GSIS has been sending checks to about 81,000 beneficiaries of survivorship pensions for quite some time. The average pension is some P2,400 each month.

However, officials discovered that many of the beneficiaries have long ceased to qualify.

Eduardo said the discovery prompted the GSIS to reevaluate all survivorship pension claims.

As part of the “massive cleansing,” GSIS opted to temporarily suspend releasing survivorship pensions since January, he said.

Initially, he said, the GSIS found that 15 thousand of the 81 thousand beneficiaries were no longer qualified. The figure translates to some P36 million monthly or P432 million annually.

Eduardo admitted that the move was unpopular but the GSIS had to decide whether to condone the losses or temporarily suspend the release of survivorship pensions until it could purge the list.

“We chose to do what was right. We had to suspend pensions until we could cleanse our database. The GSIS is the money of government employees. It is immoral to throw away their money just because we are afraid to correct the survivorship pension records,” he said.

Eduardo said beneficiaries need not worry because the “massive cleansing” would be completed before the month ends.


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