SSS contribution hike to proceed—Regino

The Social Security System (SSS) said the increase in members contributions beginning January next year would proceed as planned despite opposition by private sector employers.

In a briefing, Michael G. Regino, SSS president and chief executive officer, said on Thursday, Dec. 15, that postponing the rise in the monthly contributions is unlikely, unless Congress grants President Marcos power to suspend it.

“I think President Marcos, knowing fully well the concerns of Filipino workers, and for their future, he will really consider everything before making a decision,” Regino said. “But definitely, it is needed to come from Congress.”

Republic Act (RA) No. 11199, or the Social Security Act of 2018, allowed the Social Security Commission (SSC), the SSS’s highest governing body, to raise contribution rate by one percentage point every other year starting 2019 until it reaches 15 percent.

SSS contribution rate is set to increase from 13 percent to 14 percent next year, before hitting 15 percent in 2025.

“This law has been thoroughly studied and it took us a year to refine this law. The only way to change it is through an act of Congress,” Regino said.

In 2021, Congress granted former President Duterte the power to suspend increases in SSS contributions. However, the chief executive did not exercise this special authority given by the lawmakers.

Earlier, employers sought for the postponement of the increase in contributions, saying businesses were still recovering from the effects of the prolonged pandemic.

On Thursday, SSS also introduced the Worker’s Investment and Savings Program (WISP) Plus, its newest retirement savings scheme for members.

Regino said WISP Plus is a voluntary retirement savings program offered exclusively to SSS members in addition to its regular social security program.

“We have been spearheading the concept of work, save, invest, and prosper to our members. WISP Plus is a program both for saving and investing,” Regino said.

“It is an affordable and tax-free savings scheme which will allow our members to save by contributing to the program and invest because their money will generate earnings,” he added.

The SSS chief further elaborated that WISP Plus serves as an additional layer of social security protection apart from the retirement benefits that they will receive from the regular SSS program until their retirement.

“For as low as P500 per payment, SSS members can already contribute to the WISP Plus and pay their contribution anytime. We offer our members investment earnings based on rates higher than those provided by banks,” he added.

WISP Plus would cater to all SSS members, regardless of their membership type, declared monthly earnings, and last posted monthly salary credit (MSC).

The current WISP is another provident fund program which is compulsory for SSS members who are contributing to the regular program under the MSC that exceeds P20,000. It was mandatorily implemented in January 2021 as part of the amendment in the SS Law last 2018.

Interested SSS members could join WISP Plus by accepting the terms and conditions of the program using their My.SSS account. They can only apply for WISP Plus once, and membership in the program has no expiration.