Death benefits for indigent senior citizens eyed

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BAGUIO CITY  – The City Council approved on first reading a proposed ordinance granting death assistance benefit for indigent senior citizens of the city and for other purposes.

The ordinance authored by Councilor Betty Lourdes F. Tabanda states death benefits shall be given to the surviving heirs per beneficiary as the city government’s assistance to the bereaved family of the deceased.

Among the benefits to be received by the surviving heirs of the deceased senior citizens include P10,000 if the cause of death of the indigent senior citizen is natural and P20,000 if the cause of death is by accident.

The ordinance stipulates the City Social Welfare and Development Office, in consultation with the Office of the Senior Citizens Affairs (OSCA), shall formulate the guidelines for the availment of the death benefits by the bereaved family of the deceased indigent senior citizen.

The ordinance adds that funds for the implementation of the death benefits for indigent senior citizens shall be charged against the funds allotted for the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) under the City Social Welfare and Development Office.

Under the proposed ordinance, indigent senior citizens shall refer to any elderly who is frail, sickly or with disability and without pension or permanent source of income, compensation or financial assistance from his or her relatives to support his or her basic needs, as determined by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in consultation with the National Coordinating and Monitoring board.

On the other hand, the ordinance defines the nearest surviving relative as the legal spouse who survives the deceased indigent senior citizen; provided that, where no spouse survives the deceased, they shall be limited to relatives in the degree of kinship such as children, parents, siblings, grandparents, grandchildren, uncles and aunts.

Republic Act (RA) No. 9994, otherwise known as the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010, provides that senior citizens shall be entitled to death benefit assistance of a minimum of P2,000 which will be given to the nearest surviving relative of a deceased senior citizen which amount shall be subject to adjustment due to inflation in accordance with the guidelines to be issued by the DSWD.

Section 4.4 of Ordinance No. 16, series of 2019 which provides the guidelines for the implementation of assistance to individuals in crisis situations in the city granted a maximum of P5,000 per beneficiary to defray funeral or burial expenses.

As stated in the provisions of RA 9994, the ordinance notes that the amount of the death benefit assistance shall be subject to adjustments due to inflation, thus, it is fair and just to raise the benefit to a reasonable and realistic amount to be attuned to rising cost of the time.

The ordinance was referred by the City Council to the concerned committee for study and recommendation.

By Dexter A. See

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