The Social Security System (SSS) is now ready to accept online applications for the unemployment benefit from members who were involuntarily separated from work due to the huge impact of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Aurora C. Ignacio said, “Job loss in times of global health crisis is one of the worst-case scenarios that we wish would never happen. However, as a pension fund, 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.”

To qualify for the unemployment benefit, covered employees, including kasambahays and overseas Filipino worker (OFW) members, must have paid at least 36 monthly SSS contributions, wherein 12 months of it should have been paid within the last 18 months before the month of involuntary separation.

Reasons for involuntary separation should be due to retrenchment/downsizing, closure or cessation of business operations, and other reasons brought about by the coronavirus disease (CoVID-19) pandemic.

Furthermore, the member must not be more than 60 years old at the time of involuntary separation, except for underground and surface mineworkers, and racehorse jockeys whose age should not be more than 50 and 55 years old, respectively.

SSS office

Before the online application of unemployment benefit, members should have their own My.SSS account through registration at the SSS Website. Contact details, especially the mobile number, should also be registered in My.SSS account in case the member opted to receive their benefits through remittance centers. Disbursement accounts should also be enrolled in the respective My.SSS accounts through Bank Enrollment Module (BEM).

To submit their benefit application online, members should log in to My.SSS account and click “apply for unemployment benefit claim” under the E-Services tab. Provide all the pertinent information such as the active savings account enrolled through the Bank Enrollment Module (BEM), employment category, date of involuntary separation, the reason for involuntary separation, and the employer’s name where the member was separated.

Members should read the certification carefully before clicking the “Submit” box to agree and proceed with the application. SSS will send a notification through email. Members should reply by attaching the scanned images of the certification issued by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) or by the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO), together with the Notice of Termination from the Employer or Affidavit of Termination from Employment, whichever is applicable. SSS will once again send a notice through email regarding their unemployment benefit application.

“We would like to remind our members to double-check the encoded details before submitting their application to avoid any inconvenience brought by any erroneous entry such as bank account number and contact details. Also, secure your email and text notifications for future reference,” added Ignacio.

Unemployment benefit will be released through various SSS payment channels such as Unified Multi-purpose Identification (UMID) Card enrolled as ATM card, bank account in PESONet participating banks, electronic wallet (e.g., Paymaya), and remittance transfer companies/cash payout outlets (e.g., DBP Cash Padala thru MLhuiller).

Unemployment benefit can only be availed once every three years, starting from the date of involuntary separation from work. SSS shall only pay the highest benefit from the recorded contingencies if two or more compensable contingencies occurred within the same period.

As of May 2020, more than 900 members already availed of the unemployment benefits during the community quarantine from March 16 to May 31, with total disbursement amounting to P11.76 million.

“This is part of the SSS’ assistance package that intends to provide financial assistance to members and pensioners affected by the health crisis brought by COVID-19. We hope that our displaced members will immediately get a new job so that they can financially support themselves and their families,” Ignacio concluded.

For more information, members may call the SSS hotline at 1455 or the Interactive Voice Response System facility at 7917-7777. They may also follow the official Facebook page “Philippine Social Security System” and Instagram Account “Mysssph” for further updates. (SSS)