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SSS releases P732 million in unemployment benefits

The Social Security System released P732.15 million in unemployment benefit disbursements to 54,282 members in the first six months of 2021, higher by 407 percent from the same period of last year.

The number of member-beneficiaries also rose from 11,917 to 54,282 by 355 percent, its press release said yesterday.

SSS president and chief executive officer, Aurora Ignacio, said the steep jump of benefit releases is associated with the increase in members’ awareness on the availability of the benefit for those who were involuntarily separated from work, mainly due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We’re glad that this program was able to assist our workers in the private sector, especially during these times that majority had been left jobless due to the pandemic. Aside from that, the safety and convenience of our online services and checkless disbursements helped our qualified members to get their benefits on time which really served their purpose,” Ignacio said.

The unemployment benefit is one of the landmark provisions of Republic Act 11199, or the Social Security Act of 2018, effective March 5, 2019.

Qualified are covered employees, including kasambahay or household helpers, and overseas Filipino workers, who were involuntarily separated from employment due to economic downturn, natural or human-induced calamities/disasters, 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.

Members must not be more than 60 years old at the time of involuntary separation. In the case of underground or surface mineworkers and racehorse jockeys, they should not be more than 50 and 55 years old, respectively.

Members must have also paid at least 36 monthly contributions, 12 months of which should have been paid within the 18-month period before the involuntary separation.

Qualified members will receive a monthly cash benefit equivalent to 50 percent of the member’s average monthly salary credit for a maximum of two months. For example, a member-applicant with an AMSC of P16,000 will receive a two-month unemployment benefits worth P16,000 or P8,000 for each month, the press release said.

Benefit claim should be filed within one year from the date of a member’s involuntary separation. However, if the one-year deadline for filing falls on March 5, 2020 up until the last day of the Enhanced Community Quarantine/General Community Quarantine, the involuntary separated member may still file their claims until 60 days from the declaration of the government of the end or the last day of the ECQ/GCQ.

The step-by-step guide for the online submission of the unemployment benefit claim application can be accessed through this link: https://bit.ly/31tMWsY.

Ignacio also reminded its members to register online at the SSS website to create their own My.SSS accounts for the enrollment of disbursement account via the Disbursement Account Enrollment Module before the online submission of unemployment benefit claim application.

The step-by-step guide for the My.SSS registration and disbursement account enrollment can be accessed through these links: https://bit.ly/3m59GJ9 and https://bit.ly/39kVTcb.*

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