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136,000 SSS members receive P1.71-B unemployment benefits in 2020

SSS: Social Security System

The Social Security System (SSS) released in 2020 more than P1.71 billion in unemployment benefits to 135,814 qualified members.

Preliminary data from the pension fund showed that the unemployment benefit releases last year increased nine-fold from P177.86 million in 2019. The number of claimants also increased by the same level from only 14,895 members recorded in the same year.

“The significant increase in the amount of benefit releases and the number of member-recipients in 2020 is largely attributed to the effects of COVID-19 crisis to the Philippine economy,” Ignacio said.

She pointed out that “Although the initial implementation already covered involuntary separations effective March 5, 2019, or upon the approval of Republic Act 11199, also known as the Social Security Act of 2018, SSS started receiving unemployment benefit applications online last August 2019 upon deployment of the UB system.”

Among the seven benefit programs of the SSS, the Unemployment Benefit is one of the landmark provisions of the 2018 SSS Law. It is a cash benefit granted to covered employees, including kasambahay (house helpers) and Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who were involuntarily separated from employment due to economic downturn, calamity/disaster, installation of labor-saving devices; redundancy; retrenchment or downsizing; closure or cessation of operation; and disease or illness of the employee whose continued employment is prohibited by law or is prejudicial to his or her co-employees’ health.

“As more companies are retrenching and shutting down due to the pandemic, the number of affected employees is also increasing. Hence, to facilitate their applications for the said program, involuntarily separated workers should register online at the SSS website at www.sss.gov.ph to create their own My.SSS accounts for the mandatory online filing of their unemployment benefits. Almost all our processes are now online, allowing for an easier, faster, and simpler way to transact with us,” Ignacio added.

To qualify, members must not be more than 60 years old at the time of involuntary separation—except for underground and surface mineworkers, and racehorse jockeys whose age should not be more than 50 and 55 years old, respectively. They must have also paid at least 36 monthly contributions, 12 months of which should have been paid within an 18-month period before the involuntary separation.

To apply, members should log on to their My.SSS account and enroll the preferred disbursement account through the Disbursement Account Enrollment Module (DAEM) under the E-Services tab. Once approved, they will have to submit their application by clicking “apply for the unemployment benefit claim” under the same tab, provide all the requested information such as their preferred DAEM-enrolled active disbursement account, employment category, the date and reason of involuntary separation, and employer’s name where they were separated. In the case of land-based OFW members, the name of the foreign employer is not required.

Applicants should read the certification carefully before clicking the “Submit” button to proceed with their application. SSS will send a notification via email while members must reply to it by attaching the scanned copies of the certification issued by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), or the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) or Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) in the case of OFWs, and the Notice of Termination from the Employer or Affidavit of Termination from Employment, whichever is applicable. They will then receive another email confirming their successful application.

“We strongly encourage our members to regularly check their My.SSS accounts and registered e-mail addresses as well for any information, claim status, or updates regarding their recent SSS online transactions such as applied loans, submitted benefits application, or other requests,” Ignacio concluded.

For more details, members may follow the SSS Facebook page at the “Philippine Social Security System,” Instagram account at “mysssph,” Twitter account at “PHLSSS,” and SSS Viber Community “MySSSPH Updates.”