Saturday, February 28, 2015

SSS Benefits for OFWs

The Social Security System (SSS) offers insurance benefits to Filipino workers, whether they are working in the Philippines or overseas. Being a migrant worker and an SSS member though has an advantage because they can opt to enjoy the two-tiered social security scheme of SSS for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

The first layer of the SSS program for overseas Filipinos is the Regular OFW Coverage Program. This is the Basic Pension Program that aims to provide OFWs with a source of income after retirement. It was first implemented in 1995 and all documented OFWs are required to be a member. However, numerous complaints that the first layer does not provide sufficient financial protection for life’s uncertainties, SSS created a second layer of protection.

This is the SSS Flexi-Fund Program which was established in 2001 under President Arroyo’s administration that provides members with a pension and savings plan. Membership to this supplementary program is voluntary. In 2002, it was adopted as the National Provident Fund for OFWs.

Information about Regular OFW Coverage Program of SSS

Who are covered under this program?
The program covers all OFWs not over 60 years old, whether previously a member or not.

When does the coverage of an OFW member take effect?
Coverage of an OFW takes effect upon payment of the first monthly contribution.

How does one register as an OFW (New) member?
Visit the nearest SSS office and secure an Overseas Worker Record Form (SSS Form OW-1). Fill out the form and submit with any of the following documents:
* Birth Certificate
* Driver's License
* PRC Card
* Baptismal Certificate
* Passport
* Seaman's Book

What will be the basis of monthly contributions?
The monthly contributions will be based on the monthly earnings declared at the time of registration, computed in Philippine pesos. (Please refer to the Schedule of Contributions)

Where will payments be made?
* Banco de Oro
* Landbank
* Metrobank

Contributions in any given year may be paid within the same year except for the last quarter wherein payment is extended up to 31 January of the following year.

What are the benefits and loan privileges of an OFW member?
OFWs are entitled to various benefits and loan privileges, provided qualifying conditions for entitlement are met. To ensure higher benefits and privileges you can continue to pay your monthly contributions until you reach the age of 60 or 65 years old.

* Sickness
* Maternity
* Retirement
* Disability (Partial/Total)
* Death
* Funeral

LOANS: SalaryHousingHouse Repair/Improvement

Information about the Flexi-Fund Program of SSS

What is the SSS Flexi-Fund?
The SSS Flexi-fund is a voluntary provident fund for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs). It is an additional service of the SSS on top of its regular OFW membership. The program gives OFWs the opportunity to set aside part of their Flexi-fund contributions, thus providing good security for their future.

What are the benefits under the Flexi-fund program?
The Flexi-fund Program is a pension plan and savings account rolled into one. Primarily, it aims to supplement the pension benefits under the regular OFW coverage. Members who reach retirement or become disabled will receive their benefits, equal to their total Flexi-fund contributions plus earnings, either in the form of monthly pension, lump-sum payment or combination of both.

Why is the SSS Flexi-fund a good investment?
Flexi-fund contributions are invested entirely in government securities. Interest earnings are computed based on the average 91-day Treasury bill rate, thus ensuring a transparent, high-yielding and risk-free investment of members' hard-earned income abroad.

Who may enroll in the Flexi-fund Program?
The Flexi-fund Program is exclusive to OFW members who are paying contributions based on the prevailing maximum monthly salary credit (MSC) under the regular SSS coverage program. Enrollment is done using SS Form OW-1 , indicating application for Flexi-fund membership, to be submitted to any SSS Foreign Representative office . Local SSS branches also accept OW-1 forms but will require registrants to present valid Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) or E-receipt issued by the POEA as proof of pending deployment.

How can OFWs contribute to the SSS Flexi-fund?
Contributions can be made anytime, provided the Flexi-fund member has paid the maximum monthly SSS contribution (currently at P1,560) for the applicable period. Any amount, not less than P200, paid in excess of the required contribution will be posted to the member's Flexi-fund account and earn interest (e.g., if total payment for applicable month of January is P2,000, the amount of P1,560 will be for regular SSS and P440 for Flexi-fund).

Can Flexi-fund deposits also be withdrawn? What are the requirements?
Flexi-fund members may opt to apply for early withdrawal of their accumulated funds, either in full or partial lump sum, in case of urgent financial needs. Pre-termination fees, however, will be imposed on withdrawal of contributions that have stayed in the Fund for less than a year.

For all Flexi-fund benefit claims, including early withdrawals, use SS Form DDR-2, which is also downloadable from the SSS website. This should be submitted to any local SSS branch, together with 1x1 ID picture and photocopy of SSS digitized ID card or passport, for claim settlement.