The Social Security System (SSS) released P10.49 billion under its maternity benefit program with some 290,000 female members as beneficiaries in 2020, almost double the amount paid by the state pension fund in 2016.
SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Aurora C. Ignacio said based on tentative data, the steep jump in benefit releases occurred in 2019 when an additional P3.35 billion in maternity disbursements was recorded, following the implementation of Republic Act 11210 (105-day Expanded Maternity Leave Law).
“Since the allowed maternity leave was extended up to 105 days, it is expected that the benefit releases will also dramatically increase. Based on our data, the average annual disbursements in 2016, or three years before implementing the law, is at P6.16 billion. Now that it has been implemented since March 11, 2019, the average annual release is now pegged at P10.45 billion,” Ignacio said.
However, the SSS Chief noted a slight decrease in the total number of beneficiaries last year, attributing this to quarantine restrictions imposed by the government since March 2020 to stem the COVID-19 infection.
“Since the community quarantine affected the transacting public wanting to visit government offices and the fact that pregnant women are considered high-risk individuals during this pandemic, pregnant and even lactating mothers who are SSS members chose to stay at home and postponed their appointments. Hence, we expect a higher number of benefit applications this year,” said Ignacio.
SSS branches also implemented social distancing measures and other safety protocols, thus limiting the number of transactions received and processed last year at the height of the pandemic.
“The maternity benefit provided by SSS has a 10-year prescriptive period. Prior to the submission of their claims, it is an important requirement for our employed female members to notify their employer. For self-employed, voluntary, and OFW members, they should have at least personally notified SSS about their pregnancy,” Ignacio added.
Employers may submit the Maternity Notification of their employees through their My.SSS account. For self-employed, voluntary, and OFW members, they may submit their Maternity Notifications via the My.SSS facility in the SSS website or thru the SSS Mobile App.
On the other hand, members are required to enroll a valid disbursement account using the Disbursement Account Enrollment Module (DAEM) under the E-Services menu of My.SSS for their benefit proceeds to be credited directly to this bank account. For further information about DAEM, kindly visit the following links: https://bit.ly/3ewMXEg and https://bit.ly/2Ostj1k.
The SSS Maternity Benefit is a cash allowance granted only to female SSS members. To qualify, she should have paid at least three monthly contributions within the 12-month period immediately preceding the semester of her childbirth, miscarriage, or emergency termination of pregnancy.
The 105-Day Expanded Maternity Leave Law increases the compensable number of days for maternity leave benefit from the initial 60 days for normal delivery, or 78 days for caesarian section delivery to 105 days for live childbirth, regardless of the type of delivery, and an additional 15 days paid leave if the female worker qualifies as a solo parent. In case of miscarriage or emergency termination of pregnancy, the entitlement is 60 days of paid maternity leave. The law also gave additional consideration to women by further expanding the allowed maternity leave for pregnancy, miscarriage, or emergency termination, regardless of frequency, from the previous limit of only the first four deliveries or miscarriages.
“We understand the challenges faced by our female members since childbirth is one of the challenging experiences for a woman. SSS acknowledges our female members because of the significant role they play in our society, particularly in our labor industry. This is why we are trying our best to give them social security protection during these times. Notably, the higher the contribution they pay, the higher the amount of benefit they will receive from SSS,” Ignacio concluded.
Announcements and other information are posted on official SSS accounts on Facebook and YouTube at “Philippine Social Security System,” Instagram at “mysssph,” Twitter at “PHLSSS,” and the SSS Viber Community at “MYSSSPH Updates.”