SSS unemployment benefits rise nine-fold

Published June 23, 2021, 3:31 PM

by Chino S. Leyco

State-run Social Security System (SSS) said the pension fund’s unemployment benefit releases increased ninefold last year after the country’s jobless rate hit the highest level on record amid the pandemic.

In a statement, Aurora C. Ignacio, SSS president and chief executive officer said on Wednesday, June 23, said their unemployment benefits reached P1.71 billion in January to December last year, a significantly jump from only P177.86 million in the previous year.

SSS preliminary data showed that 135,814 qualified members received unemployment benefits last year, up from only 14,895 recorded in 2019.

“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 said that while the initial implementation already covered involuntary separations effective March 5, 2019, or upon the approval of 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, among others.

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.

“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,” Igancio said.