SSS sees increased unemployment claims

Published July 31, 2020, 10:00 PM

by Chino S. Leyco

Unemployment benefit claims are expected to continue piling up after the coronavirus pandemic-fueled lockdowns forced businesses to give up their workers, the Social Security System (SSS) said yesterday. 

About two weeks after SSS started accepting online applications for unemployment benefits, the pension fund already processed 4,392 eligible jobless claims and the number of Filipinos filing for unemployment assistance continue to rise.

From June 22 to July 6 alone, SSS already released some P59.8 million worth of unemployment benefits.

 “We expect that these figures will continue to increase as more companies announced retrenchment and closure of businesses due to the pandemic crisis,” Aurora C. Ignacio, SSS president and chief

executive officer said in a statement.

 The highest number of online applicants came from Luzon with 1,697, followed by the National Capital Region with 972, while Visayas and Mindanao have 894 and 822 applicants, respectively.

The country’s unemployment rate jumped to a record 17.7 percent during the peak the coronavirus lockdown, translating to a total 7.3 million jobless Filipinos as of April this year.

Ignacio said that their members can avail of SSS unemployment benefit if they were  involuntary separated from work during the pandemic and have paid at least 36 months of contributions, and paid the last 12 months within the past 18 months.

They must also be not more than 60 years of age at the time of involuntary separation.

Meanwhile, SSS said that in terms of the mode of disbursement, 99 percent of the members received their cash benefits through their savings accounts, while remaining one percent received their unemployment claims through ATM and remittance centers.

 “As part of our digital transformation efforts, SSS aside from shifting its transactions online is also geared towards a checkless payment system,” Ignacio said.

Before submitting their unemployment benefit application online, Ignacio reminded applicants that they should have their own My.SSS account through registration at the SSS Website.

The disbursement account should also be registered in their My.SSS accounts through Bank Enrollment Module (BEM) and proceed to the E-services tab and click Bank Enrollment.

Unemployment benefit is equivalent to half of their average monthly salary credit for a maximum of two months. The cash benefit ranges from the minimum amount of P1,200 up to the maximum amount of P16,800, if involuntary separated in July 2020.