For overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in need of additional savings, the SSS Flexi-Fund program may be the scheme they need to invest in. It’s non-obligatory and hassle-free funding on top of their SSS premium contributions.
In 2017, the Social Security System (SSS) paid out annual incentives benefits (AIB) worth P17,000,000 to over 40,000 qualified Filipinos abroad who are enrolled in the SSS Flexi-Fund scheme.
In 2018, SSS President and CEO Emmanuel F. Dooc said that the program will help OFWs to yield more earnings compared to saving in a bank. Even the AIB that members can potentially earn will go up since “the higher the savings, the higher returns.”
It is in line with what Senator Richard Gordon said on the charter amendment hearing, which was “Save, Invest, Prosper.” The program aims to help the OFWs supplement their retirement benefits or emergency funds in a method convenient to the members.
Now, if you are an OFW interested to join the program, here are things you should know.
What is Flexi-Fund?
It is a voluntary fund managed by the government and made exclusively for OFWs. The goal of the program is to enable the OFWs to save while working abroad and get the maximum returns out of these savings, whether as retirement benefits or additional emergency funds.
The SSS Flexi-Fund serves as a complement for the pension benefits you reap from your regular SSS contributions. It is highly transparent and free from risks because of fixed income securities. Returns are guaranteed as the interest rates follow the 91-day (quarterly) treasury bills.
Benefits of the SSS Flexi-Fund
The tax-free benefits from amassed funds and interest returns may be used in cases of disability, dismemberment, death. Members can also receive the AIB, either in a lump sum or as a pension.
They can also withdraw/remove their funds in case of emergencies or anytime they want, even if it’s outside the fixed term. However, pre-termination charges apply on withdrawal with less than a year retention.
Technically, all OFWs are eligible for an SSS Flexi Fund account. However, there are also the following additional qualifications:
- Not over 60 years old
- Working outside the country
- Residing in a foreign country permanently
- Recruited in the Philippines for overseas employment by foreign-based employers
- Paying the maximum SSS contributions on its regular fund program
A registered SSS member must submit a valid ID and SSS Flexi-Fund Enrollment Form. If you are applying in the Philippines, bring proof of foreign employment such as an e-receipt issued by Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) or overseas employment certificate.
If you are not yet registered with the SSS, secure a personal record form (SSS form E-1) and birth certificate (or any government-issued IDs such as baptismal certificate or its equivalent, active driver’s license, non-expired passport, valid PRC card, or seaman’s book), and SSS Flexi-Fund enrollment form.
How to register with SSS Flexi-Fund
To apply for SSS Flexi-Fund membership, you can register at all SSS local/foreign office branches. Here’s how:
- Download the enrollment form from the SSS website or secure one from the SSS representative offices (overseas) and Philippine branches.
- Fill out the forms and submit them to the office with a copy of your ID (and OEC/e-receipt, if applicable). You can also send it on email with an attachment of the form and ID to SSS overseas representative offices available in the foreign countries.
How to pay SSS Flexi-Fund contributions
Once enrolled in Flexi-Fund savings, you can exceed the amount of SSS contribution, and that payment excess (must worth more than P200) will be automatically credited to your account. You can pay your contributions in various ways such as:
- Electronic payments at the overseas office or the collection partners accredited by SSS
- Personal appearance at the SSS branch tellers
- Payment through authorized relatives in the Philippines
- Payment through the internet
- Auto-debit arrangement
Aside from SSS branches, these are the banks and foreign tie-ups you can go for contribution payment:
- AUB Gintong Hatid
- BDO Remit services
- BOC Sikap Pinoy
- PNB Overseas Bills Payment Service
- I-Remit online branches
- Lucky Money online branches
- Sky Freight
- Vantaja online outlets
Take note of these additional reminders about payment of contributions for SSS Flexi-Fund:
- No initial deposit to get enrolled in the fund scheme
- No maintaining balance required
- No maximum amount of contribution
- Payment anytime
- Refer to the SSS contribution table to be aware of the excess amount which is given to SSS Flexi-Fund
OFWs can view their account, including their total contributions, on the SSS Member Portal or with their My.SSS online account.
Should you wish to learn more about the program, you can call the OFW contact services section on (632) 8364-7796 and 8364-7798 or you can visit the SSS foreign representative offices located in different parts of the world. You can also send inquiries to the email addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org.