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Philippines service insurance system opens online COVID-19 emergency loan portal

Image credit: Government Service Insurance System

State pension fund Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) President and the General Manager recently announced that its members and pensioners nationwide may now apply for the GSIS COVID-19 Emergency Loan program online.

According to a press release, the President said that under the GSIS Emergency Loan program, members and pensioners may take out a PHP 20,000-loan (about US$ 392), which is payable in three years at only 6% interest per annum. The loan is covered by insurance, which deems the loan fully paid in case of the borrower’s demise.

He explained that to apply for the loan online, the borrower needs to email the following to GSIS: duly-accomplished Emergency Loan application form which is downloadable from the GSIS website; a picture or scanned copy of the borrower’s GSIS electronic card (eCard) or Unified Multi-Purpose Identification (UMID) card; and, photo of the borrower holding the filled-out application form.  If the ecard or UMID card is not available, the borrower may submit two valid IDs.

The application form and requirements must be sent to the designated email address according to the members’ place of work or pensioners’ residence: gsiscares@gsis.gov.ph  (for borrowers in NCR including Quezon City and Cavite); gsisnorthluzon@gsis.gov.ph (North Luzon); gsissouthluzon@gsis.gov.ph (South Luzon); gsisvisayas@gsis.gov.ph (Visayas) or gsismindanao@gsis.gov.ph (Mindanao).

Active members and pensioners with UMID cards may also apply through the GSIS Wireless Automated Processing System (GWAPS) kiosks located in all GSIS branches and extension offices, provincial capitals, city halls, selected municipal offices, large government agencies such as the Department of Education, and several Robinsons and SM Malls.

The loan proceeds are electronically credited to the borrowers’ eCard or UMID card.

This is the first time that GSIS is offering an emergency loan on a national scale. Previously, emergency loans were offered by GSIS to declared calamity areas which are usually confined to a particular province or region. The last time GSIS offered a region-wide emergency loan was in 2013 when typhoon Yolanda struck almost all provinces in the Visayas. In the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda, GSIS disbursed a total of PHP 5.2 billion (about US $102 million) in loans to members and pensioners in 2013.

All GSIS members of good standing are qualified to avail of the COVID-19 Emergency Loan, except those who are on leave without pay; incurred arrears in paying the mandatory life insurance contributions; or have unpaid loans for more than six months.

To ensure that borrowers would still have adequate take-home pay after availing of the loan, borrowers should have a minimum take-home pay of PHP 5,000 (US$ 97) following the deduction of monthly premium contributions and loan amortizations from their salary.

Old-age and disability pensioners may likewise apply for the loan if the resulting net monthly pension after taking a loan is at least 25% of their basic monthly pension. This is to ensure that there is still a considerable amount left for the pensioners’ usual monthly expenses.

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