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SSS: Higher contribution means more benefits

Active Social Security System (SSS) members will be entitled to more benefits once they start paying higher contributions as mandated by the new Social Security Act, SSS president and CEO Emmanuel Dooc said Monday.

In an interview with GMA News, Dooc said that aside from the usual SSS benefits for maternity leave, sickness, funeral, death, permanent disability, and retirement, active SSS members will also be entitled to an unemployment insurance or involuntary separation benefit under the new law signed by President Rodrigo Duterte last week.

"Ang ipagkakaloob na halaga ay benefit, hindi ito pautang," said Dooc.

The law states that "a member who is not sixty (60) years of age who has paid at last thirty-six (36) months contributions, twelve (12) months of which should be in the eighteen-month period immediately preceding the involuntary unemployment or separation shall be paid benefits in the form of monthly cash payments equivalent to fifty percent (50%) of the average monthly salary credit for a maximum of two (2) months."

However, it also provides that "an employee who is involuntarily unemployed can only claim unemployment benefits once every three (3) years" and that "in case of two or more compensable contingencies, only the highest benefit shall be paid, subject to the rules and regulations that the Commission may prescribe."

The law also establishes a "provident fund" for SSS members which will consist of contributions of employees and employers, self-employed, OFW, and voluntary members based on the SSS contribution rate in excess of 12 percent or monthly salary credit in excess of P20,000 up to the prescribed maximum monthly salary credit and their earnings.

Dooc said each member will eventually get his contribution to the provident fund, aside from the pension and other benefits he or she is supposed to get.

"Yung provident fund ay karagdagang benepisyo na nauukol sa individual na miyembro ng Social Security System," Dooc said. "Maliban doon sa legislated contribution niya na may karampatang benepisyo, ito ay magbibigay din ng karagdagang benefits sa kanya."

The law raises the contribution rate of each member to 12% from the previous 11% and sets the monthly salary credit at P2,000 (minimum) to P20,000 (maximum) . For employed individuals, the employee will shoulder 4% of the contribution rate, while the employer will shoulder 8%.

The law gradually increases the contribution rate every two years until it reaches 15% in 2025, with the maximum monthly salary credit pegged at P35,000.

Dooc said the increase in SSS contributions is vital to extending its fund life until the year 2045. 

"Kelangan talaga yan upang mapanatili o higit nating mapalakas ang SSS fund. Alam mo naman na ang buhay at kakayahan ng alinmang social security system saan mang jurisdiction sa mundo ay nakasalalay sa katatagan ng pondo nito," he said.

With the new law in place, Dooc is hoping more Filipinos will actively pay their SSS contributions, as only 16 million or 42% of the social security system's 38 million members do so. —LDF, GMA News