VALENCIA, Bohol – The Commission on Audit (COA) has found that low death benefit assistance granted to senior citizens of this town violated rules and regulations, “thus depriving the nearest surviving relatives of the benefits endowed by the law.” “Senior citizen’s death benefit assistance were granted below the required minimum amount of two thousand pesos (P2,000.00), in violation of section 40 of the Expanded Senior Citizen Act and its Implementing Rules and Regulations, “thus depriving the nearest surviving relatives of the benefits endowed by the law.”
In its post-audit findings dated ending December 31, 2013, COA observed that this town granted only P500 to the nearest surviving relative of a deceased senior citizen. The assistance was increased to Php1,000.00 during the second semester, it said.
COA quoted the said law (RA 9994 or Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010) provides for Php2,000.00 “shall be given to the nearest relative of a deceased senior citizen which amount shall be subject to adjustments due to inflation in accordance with the guidelines to be issued by the DSWD.”
This is in consonance with the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) jont Memorandum Circular No. 1 dated January 13, 2012 for strict implementation of Death Benefit Assistance (DBA).
“But some more affluent LGUs can give a higher amount if their resources allow them,” COA pointed out.
Pieces of documentary evidence are required to prove family members are really affiliated with the deceased senior citizen. It also said that non-relative who cared for toward the end of the senior citizen’s days may still avail of the DBA as long as the municipal social workers certify that the said non-relative-claimant “provided care and on whom the senior citizen was dependent for primary care and support, COA said.
The municipal government in its comment to COA findings promised to increase the said benefit to Php2,000 to sernior citizens’ relatives. It also said it will comply with the said law.
COA has recommended that the local chief executive or the mayor complies with the said law and the municipal social worker “must ensure that the claim for death benefit assistance is valid by stating the relationship of the claimant to the deceased senior citizen in the case of summary report.”
It also recommended that the municipal accountant “should require certified true copy of senior citizens identification, death certificate, valid ID of the claimant from the barangay and case summary report slip from MSWDO to determine the validity of the claim and completeness of the suppurting documents.” (rvo)