Some P178 million worth of benefits have been released in 2019 through an unemployment benefit or involuntary separation insurance program of the Social Service System under Republic Act 11199 or the Social Security Act of 2018 that took effect on March 5, 2019.
SSS president and chief executive officer Aurora Ignacio said the pension fund received 15,151 unemployment benefit applications in 2019, of which 14,895 were approved and translated to P178 million of benefit releases.
The unemployment benefit program is the newest among the benefits being offered by SSS allowing qualified SSS members who are involuntarily separated from work to claim for a cash allowance equivalent to two times his average monthly salary credit.
Since its implementation in August 2019, the bulk of the unemployment benefit applications were received in October with 4,596 approved applications which corresponded to P54.61 million released to qualified members.
“We are hoping that with the newest benefit, we will help more SSS members during times of unexpected job loss. The program was patterned after the unemployment benefit program in European countries. Our primary objective is to assist them while they are looking for another job after they were involuntarily separated from their work,” Ignacio said.
“They may also use the benefit for their retooling and capacity building to find a better job or work that will suit their skills, ” she added.
To qualify for unemployment benefit, a member must not be more than 60 years old at the time of involuntary separation, except for underground and surface mine workers, and racehorse jockeys whose age should not be more than 50 and 55 years old, respectively.
“The unemployment benefit can be claimed only once every three years starting from the date of involuntary separation from work. If two or more compensable contingencies occurred within the same period, SSS will only pay the highest benefit from the recorded contingencies. They are given one year from the time of their separation to file for their benefit claim,” the SSS official said.
A member-applicant must have paid at least 36 monthly contributions, wherein 12 months of those should have been paid within the 18-month period prior to the month of involuntary separation.