Members of Social Security System based in Hong Kong can apply for SSS unemployment benefit of up to P20,000 if they lost their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic, a local SSS officer said in a report by The SUN.
Lester Mata, SSS Hong Kong officer in charge, said that some OFW members of the pension fund have inquired in recent days about the cash aid. The amount that each member will receive will be based on his/her monthly salary credit.
Related: 2020 SSS Contribution Table
Mata said to be eligible for the assistance, workers must have made at least 36 monthly contributions to the private pension fund, with at least 12 of the payments being made in the past 18 months. The applicant should also not have received unemployment benefit from SSS for the past three years.
In addition, members must not be more than 60 years old at the time of the job loss, except for those in the mining industry who should be 50 or below.
Mata added that the financial assistance outlined in the Social Security System Law of 2018 serves as an emergency fund for members such as overseas Filipino workers who lost their jobs due to a variety of reasons, particularly those that arise from the economic impact of the pandemic. The coverage also includes job losses such as redundancy, retrenchment, business cessation, natural disasters, and even those forced to resign due to inhumane and unbearable treatment at work.
Steps on applying for SSS unemployment benefit
- Applicants must obtain a certification from the Philippine Overseas Labor Office that he or she has become unemployed due to pandemic-related reasons.
- Sign in or register at SSS website to create My.SSS account and fill out the application form.
SSS has reportedly allocated P1.2 billion to serve this purpose, meaning it will only benefit 60,000 legitimate claims.
Claims must be filed within a year from the involuntary separation, and can not be availed together with another SSS cash grant.
However, those who have received financial aid from other government agencies, such as the USD200 given to displaced OFWs under the “AKAP” program of the Department of Labor and Employment, may still qualify for the SSS assistance.
SSS president and chief executive Aurora Ignacio told Philippine media on Jul 4 that “Job loss in times of global health crisis is one of the worst-case scenarios that we wish would never happen.”
But, as a pension fund, she said “we have to anticipate these kinds of contingencies by allocating funds and providing our members with safer, faster and more convenient means of filing benefit claims and receiving their cash benefits.”