SSS pushes higher retirement benefits for OFWs

State-run Social Security System is committed to give overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) higher social security benefits especially during their retirement as it pushes to implement the compulsory coverage of OFWs mandated under Republic Act 11199 or the Social Security Act of 2018.

SSS president and Chief Executive Officer Aurora C. Ignacio said the pension fund is set to release guidelines on compulsory OFW coverage while taking into consideration the concerns and suggestions that were discussed during the public forum with OFW stakeholders last May 3.

“It was clear in the public forum that all stakeholders are united in providing social security protection to all OFWs. However, we must settle some issues in the implementing guidelines. We will continue to hold discussions with our partners in government who are jointly mandated with the SSS under the new law to ensure compulsory OFW coverage, namely the Department of Labor and Employment and its concerned agencies such as the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, and the Department of Foreign Affairs. Leaders from both land-based and sea-based OFW sectors will also be consulted in the process, and all together, we will see how we can best implement the provisions of the law,” Ignacio explained.

SSS data showed that in 2018, there were 1.14 million registered OFWs in the system, of which around 550,000 were paying members during the year.

The pension fund also disbursed an estimated P5.65 billion in benefits to over 63,000 OFW pensioners and members in 2018, or 89 percent of the P6.37 billion contributions collected from OFWs on the same year.

The pension fund is proposing that all land-based OFWs should pay at least a minimum monthly contribution of P960 which is equivalent to 12 percent of the new minimum monthly salary credit (MSC) for OFWs of P8,000.

Even paying only one month of contribution at the new minimum MSC, an OFW-member will get 61 times in return from his contribution or P58,400 in total lump-sum benefits for disability, death or retirement plus funeral grant. If they opt to pay at the highest MSC of P20,000 or P2,400 monthly contribution, the benefit amount will be P116,000