SSS Pays Out P2.6B In Unemployment Benefits
The Social Security System (SSS) has so far provided about 196,000 members of its pension fund a total of P2.62 billion in unemployment insurance benefits, most of it released during the pandemic.
Photo Insert: The SSS building
Finance Secretary and Social Security Commission (SSC) chairman Carlos Dominguez III said P2.35 billion or 90 percent of the cash grants under the SSS Unemployment Insurance Benefit (UIB) program were released during the COVID-19 pandemic period from March 2020 to June 2021.
Dominguez said in his letter to the Senate that, as of June this year, 173,791 out of the total of 196,021 SSS members who availed of the UIB received them during the pandemic period.
“Implemented effective March 2019, the UIB program is among the key institutional responses of the SSS to the COVID-19 pandemic for its affected members since March 2020. From March 2020 until June 2021, the SSS has paid out P2,354.33 million in UIB, and this has benefitted 173,791 members,” said Dominguez in his letter addressed to Senate President Vicente Sotto III.
Dominguez’s letter was in response to the query of Senator Grace Poe Llamanzares, one of the vice-chairpersons of the Senate finance committee, regarding the provision of financial assistance to unemployed workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The inquiry was made during the Sept. 9, 2021 briefing by the Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) on the proposed National Expenditure Program (NEP) for 2022 to the Senate finance committee chaired by Sen. Sonny Angara. Angara and Poe have furnished copies of Dominguez’s letter.
Dominguez said that under the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of Republic Act (RA) 11199 or the Social Security Act of 2018, the UIB shall be granted provided that the separation or involuntary unemployment of the members was a result of any of, but not limited to, the following: (1) authorized causes of termination of employee, including redundancy, retrenchment/downsizing, and closure/cessation of operation; (2) just causes for ending employment relationship; (3) economic downturn; (4) natural or human-induced calamities/disasters; and (4) other analogous cases.
Amid the pandemic, the SSS has made it easier and more convenient for members to apply for UIB claims by allowing applications online through the My.SSS member portal in the SSS website, Dominguez said.
The SSS also started using electronic payment systems in releasing the UIB and other benefit claims in line with Dominguez’s instructions for the pension fund to digitize its system in order to speed up the grant of loans and benefits to its members.