There is an important agency that Overseas Filipino Workers like you could apply for – the Social Security System or SSS.
SSS is a state-run social insurance program catering to all Filipinos, regardless of the form of employment, except for those employed by the government. It was established in 1954 by virtue of RA 1164 or the Social Security Act of 1954. Later on, the said law was amended in 1997 upon passage of RA 8282.
The question now is how can SSS help you to encourage you to continue your membership? Read on to find out.
How to Register
For first-time members, you need to submit the following documents at the SSS branch nearest you:
- Duly accomplished Overseas Worker Record (SS-Form OW-1). You can get a copy here.
- Original or certified true copy of Birth Certificate, Baptismal Certificate, or Passport.
- In the absence of these three documents, you may submit Driver’s License, Record of Employment, or Voter’s Identification Card among others.
For convenience, you may also register online through the agency’s My.SSS portal. Simply visit the SSS’ online registration page and fill out necessary information to register.
In case you have an existing SSS, then no worries. Your SS number will be used every time you make transactions. Nonetheless, make sure you check Overseas Worker in the SS Form RS-5 when you make a payment to update and change your status as OFW.
As of January 1, 2004, the Monthly Salary Credit (MSC) was increased from P1,000 to P5,000. This equates to minimum of P550 contribution every month. If you want more convenience, you may opt to pay for your contribution for the entire year.
You can check out this link from SSS website for a complete schedule of contributions.
In case you’re wondering if you can make payments from overseas, the answer is yes. SSS has branches in Asia, Middle East, and Europe where you can remit your contribution directly to the agency. Check out this link for specific areas where SSS representatives can be found.
Benefits of Being a Member
You might say that this is just another way for the government to extort money. Still, being a member of SSS comes with perks.
Here are some of the benefits of being a member:
- Access to Loan Facilities- You might need extra cash for the purchase of your home or to pay an emergency expense. SSS offers various loan programs to its members that could fit your needs. If you are regularly and religiously paying your contributions, you can apply for Housing Loan, Salary Loan, or get benefits upon retirement. The best part is interest rate is usually lower compared to borrowing from banks.
- SSS Flexi Fund Program- This program is exclusive to SSS-OFW members. It invests the members’ funds into stable, low-risk fixed income securities, thereby allowing you to earn more than what ordinary savings account can give. Even if you are no longer working overseas, you can still continue with this program. Interest rates are based on either SSS’ short-term peso placement or 91-day Treasury Bills rate, whichever is higher. You can download the application form here and submit it in SSS branch near you.
- Social Benefits- SSS has an array of benefits like retirement, disability, death, and funeral. It may not seem a lot at first, but these social benefits could come in handy in case something happened.
The bottom line is this: don’t underestimate these government agencies. They may not be of value for you now, but you never know what could happen. Be a member and give yourself a peace of mind wherever you may be.