The Social Security System (SSS) released over P1.71 billion in unemployment benefits to 135,814 qualified members in 2020.
Preliminary data from SSS showed that the unemployment benefit releases in 2020 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 pension fund attributed the increase to the effects of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic on the Philippine economy.
“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 to create their own My.SSS accounts for the mandatory filing of their unemployment benefits,” SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Aurora C. Ignacio said in a statement.
Among the seven benefit programs of SSS, the Unemployment Benefit is one of the landmark provisions of the 2018 SSS Law.
The cash benefit is granted to covered employees, including house helpers and overseas Filipino workers who were involuntarily separated from employment due to economic downturn, calamity, installation of labor-saving devices, redundancy, retrenchment, closure, and disease or illness of employee whose continued employment is prohibited by law or is prejudicial to his or her co-employees health.
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.
Members must have also paid at least 36 monthly contributions, 12 months of which should have been paid within an 18-month period before involuntary separation.