The Social Security System (SSS) recorded 1.34 million Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) members as of June 2021, higher by over 800,000 from the same period in 2020.
SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Aurora C. Ignacio said in a press release that despite the pandemic, many Filipinos are still determined to work abroad to provide for their families and help the country gradually recover from the current economic downturn.
“With the assurance that their continuous membership and contributions in the SSS provide lifelong benefits in times of contingencies, we highly encourage our global heroes to become SSS members and religiously remit their contributions. SSS is one of the cheapest pension schemes in the Philippines that provides a wide range of social security programs which definitely helps our OFWs in times of difficulty. By being active members of SSS, they are assured of receiving pension benefits upon their retirement,” Ignacio added.
Under Republic Act 11199, coverage in the SSS shall be compulsory to all sea-based and land-based OFWs as defined under Republic Act 8042 or the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995 as amended by R.A. No. 10022, provided they are not over sixty (60) years of age.
All benefit provisions under the Social Security Act of 2018 such as sickness, maternity, disability, unemployment, retirement, death, and funeral shall apply to all covered OFWs. They are also entitled to avail of short-term member and housing loans based on the qualifying conditions.
The monthly earnings declared by a land-based OFW at the time of his/her registration with the SSS shall be the basis of his/her initial Monthly Salary Credit (MSC) and the corresponding amount of monthly contribution.
The minimum MSC for land-based OFWs is P8,000.00, while the maximum MSC is P25,000.00. Land-based OFW members shall pay both the employer and the employee contributions. For instance, a member with a monthly income of P8,000 will pay the entire SSS contribution of P1,040.
An OFW with a monthly income of P25,000 should pay an SSS contribution of P3,250 per month—P2,600 shall be allotted to the Regular Social Security Program while the remaining P650 shall be allocated in the Workers’ Investment and Savings Program (WISP). WISP is a voluntary provident fund launched last January to provide a safe, convenient, tax-free, and principal-protected retirement savings plan for members with an MSC of more than P20,000.
Meanwhile, sea-based OFW members will only shoulder 4.5 percent of the contribution rate, while their respective employers will shoulder the remaining 8.5 percent. For example, an OFW member with a monthly income of P20,000 shall contribute P900, while the remaining P1,700 should come from the employer to complete the P2,600 monthly contribution.
OFWs may pay their monthly contributions in advance regardless of the number of months or years. The deadline for payment of contributions for the months of January to September of a given calendar year may be paid up to December 31 of the same year, while the contributions for the months of October to December of a given calendar year may be paid up to January 31 of the succeeding year.
“However, we would like to remind them that no contributions paid retroactively by a land-based OFW-member based on the above deadline shall be used in determining his/her eligibility to any benefit arising from a contingency wherein the date of payment is within or after the semester of contingency,” Ignacio said in the press release.
“Further, we are promoting that they use the various electronic payment channels to pay their monthly contributions regularly and to ensure their eligibility to short and long-term benefits, including loan privileges,” Ignacio concluded.*