The Social Security System on Monday said it would relax its rules to fast-track the processing of death and funeral benefits for the victims of the fatal seven-hour fire that hit a slipper factory in Valenzuela City last May 13.
In a statement, SSS said it already had the official list of victims of the fire that killed more than 70 employees of Kentex Manufacturing, Inc., which the agency said it would use as basis for processing and approving claims.
“The master list from the city government of Valenzuela will serve as the death certificate of the 74 victims so we will start processing funeral and death claims,” said Jose Bautista, senior vice president of SSS NCR Operations Group.
Earlier reports put the fatalities at 72.
Since the Kentex employees died in the workplace, SSS said it would also process the compensation claims for the victims.
“The SSS is doing away with the usual documents needed in processing employees’ compensation funeral claims to make the payment of the benefit easier,” the agency said.
SSS said it would deviate from the usual documents they require to process funeral claims, in order to accommodate the Kentex victims and beneficiaries faster.
“Under normal circumstances, filing of EC funeral claims require submission of death certificate, report of death, certificate of employment, job description/ statement of duties and responsibilities, police investigation report and photocopy of the company logbook page that shows the record of death,” it said.
The agency said it already provided its branches with copies of the master list of victims to make the applications easier.
“The beneficiaries of the victims will receive up to P20,000 in funeral benefits from the SSS and P20,000 from the Employees’ Compensation,” it said. “The funeral benefits under both programs are granted as long as member has paid at least one contribution.”
The sum of death benefits that survivors would receive, however, would depend on the contributions they have paid. A lifetime death pension would be granted to the dependent living spouse of the deceased member if he or she has paid at least 36 monthly contributions.
Beneficiaries of victims with less than 36 monthly contributions will get a lump sum death benefit.
“Legitimate and illegitimate minor children will also receive a dependent’s pension equivalent to 10 percent of the basic pension or P250 whichever is higher,” SSS added.
Three weeks after the tragic fire, President Benigno Aquino III on Monday laid out the violations supposedly committed by Kentex, while clearing the Bureau of Fire Protection from liabilities and criticizing the Valenzuela City government for granting the factory a permit despite noncompliance to fire safety standards.