SSS members may now avail of unemployment benefit

THE state-run Social Security System (SSS) announced Monday that its members who were involuntarily separated from employment may now avail of the unemployment or involuntary separation benefit.

The unemployment benefit, one of the landmark provisions of Republic Act 11199 or the Social Security Act of 2018, is the seventh benefit program of the SSS. Member-applicants may be granted a cash benefit equivalent to half of their average monthly salary credit (AMSC) for a maximum of two months.

SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Aurora C. Ignacio said that through the new benefit program, SSS covered employees which include kasambahay and overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are given additional social security protection.

“The unemployment insurance or involuntary separation benefit intends to provide SSS members who are involuntarily separated from employment with a temporary source of income to support themselves and their families while they are on the process of finding a new job,” Ignacio said.

“For example, a member who’s earning P10,000 per month was involuntarily separated from employment. The member may be granted cash assistance for a maximum period of two months.  The cash assistance is equivalent to one half of the member’s AMSC which in this case is P5,000 per month or a total of P10,000 for the two-month period of the member’s unemployment.” Ignacio explained.

As stated in the SSS Circular No. 2019-011 issued earlier this month, qualified covered employees must not be more than 60 years old at the time of involuntary separation. Underground and surface mineworker, and racehorse jockey members, on the other hand, must not be more than 50 and 55 years old, respectively.

Likewise, the member must have paid at least 36 monthly contributions with 12 months of these should have been paid within the 18-month period before the month of involuntary separation.

Availees must also, have no settled unemployment benefit within the last three years prior to the date of involuntary separation.

Further, the reason for such separation must not be the fault of the employee or a result of the employee’s negligence which may be caused by the following but not limited to installation of labor-saving devices, redundancy, retrenchment, closure or cessation of operation, and disease or illness.

“A covered employee who is involuntarily separated can only claim unemployment insurance or involuntary separation benefit once every three years starting from the date of involuntary separation. In the case of concurrence of two or more compensable contingencies within the same compensable period, only the highest benefit shall be paid,” the circular read.

Applicants will be required to present and submit documentary requirements such as an original and photocopy of one primary ID card or document or in the absence of which, any two ID cards or documents, both with signature and at least one with photo.

A certification establishing the nature and date of involuntary separation issued by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) through its regional offices or Philippine Overseas Labor Offices (POLO) shall be submitted. The Notice of Termination from Employer or the Affidavit of Termination of Employment should also be submitted.

Applicants may file their claims at any SSS branch or foreign office. Filing for unemployment insurance or involuntary separation benefit claims must be within one year from the date of involuntary separation.

Payments of the unemployment insurance or involuntary separation benefit will be through SSS Unified Multi-Purpose ID (UMID) cards enrolled as ATM or through the Union Bank of the Philippines Quick Card account. SSS is also currently working to include banks under PESONet and non-bank cash pick-up as other modes of payment for this benefit.

Involuntary separations that occurred on March 5, 2019 onwards are covered by the unemployment insurance.