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Displaced OFWs can apply online for up to P20k cash benefit from SSS

07 July 2020

By Vir B. Lumicao

The amount a qualified SSS member can get will depend on her/his monthly salary credit

Hong Kong-based members of the Social Security System can apply online for unemployment benefits of up to Php20,000 if they have lost their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Lester Mata, SSS Hong Kong officer in charge, said today, Jul 7, that some OFW members of the pension fund have inquired in recent days about the cash aid, but he is unsure of how many have received the benefit, as the application is done online.

The amount that each member will receive will be based on his/her monthly salary credit.
Mata said to be eligible for the assistance, workers must have made at least 36 monthly contributions to the private pension fund, with at least 12 of the payments being made in the past 18 months. The applicant should also not have received unemployment benefit from SSS for the past three years.

In addition, members must not be more than 60 years old at the time of the job loss,  except if they are mineworkers, who should not be more than 50; and racehorse jockeys, whose should not be aged over 55.



Mata said the financial assistance is enshrined in the Social Security System Law of 2018 as an emergency fund for members, including OFWs, who lose their jobs due to various reasons, particularly those that arise from the economic impact of the pandemic.

Also included are job losses that are not necessarily related to the coronavirus outbreak, such as redundancy, retrenchment, business cessation, natural disasters, and even those forced to resign due to inhumane and unbearable treatment at work.
 
Mata says applicants must first secure a job-loss certificate from Polo
“It’s easy to apply. All she has to do is obtain a certification from the Philippine Overseas Labor Office that she had been displaced due to pandemic-related reasons,” Mata said.

A member must first register on the SSS website to create a My.SSS account, and then provide contact details, especially a mobile number, in case the option to receive the benefit through remittance centers is chosen.

PINDUTIN PARA SA DETALYE

Once the worker has secured a Polo certification, he or she can log on to her My.SSS account and fill the application form there, Mata said.   

An applicant must not waste time applying, as the SSS has set aside a fund of Php1.2 billion that could benefit only about 60,000 qualified members.

That’s a tiny fraction of the estimated seven million Filipinos who have already lost their jobs due to the pandemic, many of them OFWs.


Claims must be filed within a year from the involuntary separation, and can not be availed together with another SSS cash grant.

However, those who have received financial aid from other government agencies, such as the USD200 given to displaced OFWs under the “Akap” program of the Department of Labor and Employment, may still qualify for the SSS assistance.

SSS president and chief executive Aurora Ignacio told Philippine media on Jul 4 that “Job loss in times of global health crisis is one of the worst-case scenarios that we wish would never happen.”

But, as a pension fund, she said “we have to anticipate these kinds of contingencies by allocating funds and providing our members with safer, faster and more convenient means of filing benefit claims and receiving their cash benefits.”



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