Is your employment status in peril because of COVID-19? The Social Security System (SSS) is preparing a benefit package for people who are unemployed due to enhanced community quarantine that can be redeemed online.
According SSS President and CEO Aurora Ignacio, the agency is currently working on the online application for unemployment benefits so people living in quarantined areas can apply without risking themselves to be exposed to the virus.
At the moment, SSS unemployment benefits can only be applied for through over-the-counter channels.
“We are working onmaking the application for unemployment benefit available online for onlinefiling. As of now, it’s a new benefit so it still has to be doneover-the-counter,” Ignacio said.
Earlier this month, theSSS promised a P660-million unemployment fund for people who will be laid off becauseof forcible downsizing or closure due to the COVID-19 crisis. However, theagency said that it will be doubled to P1.2 billion if unemployment ratebecomes more severe.
The SSS said that the average amount a person can get as part of the unemployment benefit package is P11,000.
More accurately, the SSS unemployment benefit a person can receive is based on “half of their average monthly salary credit for a maximum of two months if they are displaced because of redundancy, installation of labor-saving devices, retrenchment, closure or cessation of operation, and disease or illness.”
SSS unemployment benefit details
A relatively new policy, the unemployment benefit (or involuntary separation benefit) is a mandate of the SSS under the Republic Act No. 11199, or the Social Security Act of 2018.
As part of the government’s efforts to strengthen the country’s social programs, section 14-B of the law allows Filipinos to apply for a monetary assistance after being forcibly removed from their jobs.
The unemploymentbenefit applies to all Filipinos who are formally employed, people working as householdhelp (kasambahay), and overseas Filipino workers (both land-based andsea-based), so long as the termination of their employment is involuntary.
To qualify for anunemployment benefit package from the SSS, you need to meet the followingcriteria:
- Must not exceed 60 years old when forcibly terminated (50 for surface mineworkers and 55 for racehorse jockeys)
- Must have contributed at least 36 monthly contributions—12 of them at least remitted 18 months before date of termination
- Must not have made an unemployment benefit application within the past three years
- Must have been forcibly terminated due to the following:
- Automation, redundancy, downsizing, company closure, and health reasons
- Inhumane or cruel treatment of employer
- Economic collapse
- Natural or man-made disasters
- And other causes deemed valid by the Department of Labor and Employment
- Must not have committed the following offenses prior to termination:
- Serious insubordination
- Gross negligence of duties
- Fraud or breach of trust
- Commission of crime
- Other cases like dishonesty, absence without leave, conflict of interest, and others
An SSS member can only make an unemployment benefit claim once every three years, which must be redeemed within 12 months starting from date of termination.
To get the proceeds,you can use any of the following methods:
- Universal multipurpose ID (UMID) ATM card (if you have a UMID with no ATM function, you need to apply for one as a replacement)
- Union Bank of the Philippines Quick Card (for SSS claims, can be applied at select SSS branches)
However, if the saidchannels are unavailable, you can notify the SSS and you can get your claimsthrough bank pickup through PESONet or non-bank cash pickup.
To make your claim,you need at one original and photocopy of the following primary IDs anddocuments:
- SSS card
- Alien certificate of registration
- Driver’s license
- Firearm registration
- License to own and possess firearms
- National Bureau of Investigation clearance
- Permit to carry firearms outside of residence
- Postal ID
- Seafarer’s ID and seaman’s book
- Voter’s ID
In the absence ofany of the said IDs/documents, you can submit an original and photocopy of two IDs/documentswith the same signature and one with photo.
Keep in mind that the process is for over-the-counter applications. As for the online ones, we will update you as soon as the SSS unemployment benefit portal is up and running.