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135,814 SSS members receive P1.7B unemployment benefits

The Social Security System said yesterday it released more than P1.71 billion in unemployment benefits to 135,814 qualified members in 2020.

Preliminary data from the pension fund shows that the unemployment benefit releases increased nine-fold, from P177.86 million 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 the Covid-19 crisis to the Philippine economy,” SSS president and chief executive officer, Aurora Cruz Ignacio, said in a press release.

She added that although the initial implementation already covered involuntary separations effective March 5, 2019, or upon the approval of Republic Act 11199, or the Social Security Act of 2018, SSS started receiving unemployment benefit applications online in August 2019 upon the 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 or house helpers, and overseas Filipino workers, who were involuntarily separated from employment due to economic downturn, calamity/disaster, installation of labor-saving devices, redundancy, retrenchment or downsizing, closure or cessation of operation, and disease or illness of the employee, whose continued employment is prohibited by law or is prejudicial to his or her co-employees’ health.

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 program, involuntarily separated workers should register online at www.sss.gov.ph to create their own My.SSS accounts for the mandatory online filing of their unemployment benefits, the press release said.

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.

“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 online transactions, such as applied loans, submitted benefits application, or other requests,” Ignacio added.*

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