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The Social Security System (SSS) records 1.34 million Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) members as of May 2021, higher by 11.5 percent from the same period of last year.
SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Aurora C. Ignacio said economic concerns worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic pushed more Filipinos to seek overseas employment to support their family.
“Our modern-day heroes are not only hardworking breadwinners for their family but are also huge contributors to the Philippine economy, thanks to their remittances. OFWs should receive sufficient safety nets, especially in times of contingencies in the form of social security benefits, loan privileges, and other savings schemes to ensure that their hard-earned income can turn into gainful investment in the long run,” Ignacio said.
SSS started OFW coverage under voluntary membership in 1995. This was changed to mandatory coverage for land-based and sea-based OFWs who are not more than 60 years old under Republic Act (RA) 8042, also known as the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995. Subsequent amendments for OFW coverage were made in 2010 under RA 10022 or the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act, and in 2018 under Republic Act 11199 or the Social Security Act.
Based on data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), there are 2.2 million OFWs as of April to September 2019.
“We have to work extensively to cover the remaining 860,000 OFWs by enhancing stronger partnership with our government partners like the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) and interest groups. Uncertainties may arise while working overseas and this is why we emphasize the importance of financial security and stability, especially when OFWs decide to retire and return to the Philippines. Maintaining an SSS membership is a good start and paying their contributions regularly is a huge step to ensure that they can maximize the benefits and privileges when the need arises,” Ignacio explained.
SSS offers seven benefits for OFWs—sickness, maternity, disability, unemployment, retirement, funeral, and death. They are also entitled to apply for various loan programs such as salary, calamity, educational, housing improvement, and pension loan.
To become an SSS member, an applicant must obtain a Social Security (SS) Number through the My.SSS Portal on the website www.sss.gov.ph or through the SSS Mobile App.
For an SS number to be permanent and to avail of various SSS benefits and privileges, new members are required to upload supporting documents like the Philippine Statistics Authority-certified birth certificate, marriage contract (if married), or baptismal certificate (if with children).
The complete list of documentary requirements for updating of member record status from “temporary” to “permanent” can be found in the SSS Member Data Change Request Form https://www.sss.gov.ph/sss/DownloadContent?fileName=SSSForms_Change_Request.pdf.
Registrants who recently applied for an SS number online will be given a link to activate their My.SSS account registration. Those who already have an SS Number can make contribution payments as an OFW member.
OFW coverage starts on the first day of remittance payment to SSS. The minimum Monthly Salary Credit (MSC) is P8,000 up to P25,000, with monthly contribution payments, ranging from P1,040 to P2,600, respectively. There is an additional monthly contribution of P65 to P650 for the mandatory provident fund, also known as the Workers Investment and Savings Program (WISP), for members with MSC exceeding P20,000.
They can get their Payment Reference Number (PRN) via the My.SSS account, SSS Mobile App, or through Text SSS to 2600. Once a PRN is generated, OFW-members have the option to pay their SSS contributions with accredited banks non-bank collecting partners that are available locally and abroad, or through internet banking, mobile facilities or by using the SSS Mobile App via PayMaya and BPI Online.
Information on SSS payment partners for OFW members (land-based) can be accessed through this link https://bit.ly/3xmaeiz.
In consideration of their plight, contribution payment deadlines of OFW-members for the applicable months of January to September of a given year can be paid any time of the same year. For the remaining fourth-quarter payments from October to December, they are also given until January 31 of the succeeding year to pay their SSS contributions.
“As we continuously recognize and appreciate their contribution to the society and economy it is mandatory upon the SSS to ensure that social security protection shall be made accessible especially to our Filipino workers, local or overseas, including their beneficiaries,” Ignacio concluded.
For more details and updates, follow SSS social media accounts like Facebook and YouTube at “Philippine Social Security System,” Instagram at “mysssph,” and Twitter at “PHLSSS,” or join its Viber Community at “MYSSSPH Updates.”