PVAO starts paying arrearages to pensioners
by Juliet B. Saley
BONTOC, Mt. Province (7 September) -- With the improvement of the country's economy, the government has increased the appropriations for pension funds which shall be used to pay all its arrearages.
According to Cherryl Sabling of the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO) – Mt. Province, the PVAO has already started paying arrearages in the Educational Benefit, Burial Assistance, Death Pension and Disability Pension. It has also resumed processing new applications for Educational Benefit.
Arrears are the aggregate amount due a pensioner from the effectivity date of his/her entitlement thereto up to the date of approval of the application but prior to the actual payment of the initial or the first monthly pension.
Those entitled to receive arrears in lump sum amount include veterans, surviving spouses or recipient of disability and/or death pension who have not received their benefit immediately upon effectivity of their entitlement due to shortage of funds.
Sabling explained that because of lack of funds, the educational benefit has also incurred arrears on the benefits of the students especially in their tuition fees.
She said the office made promissory notes in the schools where their beneficiaries are enrolled so that the students continue with their studies but the school also withholds the student's credentials until such time that the PVAO has paid their tuition fees. For some who have money, they already pay their tuition fee.
Pursuant to Department Order No. 65 dated July 14, 2005, a two-year moratorium in the processing of new applications for Educational Benefit has been implemented commencing on the Academic year 2005 until the Academic year 2007.
Sabling explained that PVAO has also increased the in-patient hospitalization benefit of its pensioner from P200 to P400 per day of confinement, inclusive of bed, board and medicines. This benefit may only be availed of in PVAO-accredited government hospitals, of which Bontoc General Hospital is included. The amount is given directly to the hospital where the pensioner is confined.
To ensure that only legitimate claimants receive these benefits and to update its databank and recover overpayments, if any, the PVAO is now focusing its efforts on the revalidation of its pensioners – the agency's method of confirming the status of its active pensioners, particularly their identity and legitimacy to receive benefits.
Sabling said the PVAO pensioners are also required to accomplish an update survey form annually as one way of confirming their status. Failure to comply with the requirement means suspension of their pension.
She appealed to the public to help and cooperate by reporting to PVAO individuals or group of persons who are fraudulently availing veteran's benefits since there are some reports reaching their office especially of unreported death of pensioners.
According to Sabling, there are 423 PVAO pensioners in the province composed of the living veterans and the dependents. (PIA Mt. Prov.) [top]