SSS milestones as seen by winning essayist

Part One

For this week’s column, let me share with you the milestones of the Social Security System (SSS) as presented by Jhoanna Lyn Garcia (senior communications analyst of the SSS Corporate Communications Department [CCD]) in her essay, titled “Ang SSS Noon Hanggang Ngayon: Kabalikat ng Miyembro Sa Anumang Hamon Ng Panahon” (as translated), the first-place winner in the Essay Writing Contest of the SSS 60th Anniversary Celebration.

Here’s part one of her essay:

Sixty years. Ten Presidents. More than 35 million members and 2 million pensioners. Truly, the SSS has gone far.

But what really has the SSS been able to do for the welfare of its members? Together let us reminisce the past 60 years of the SSS in providing service, its downfall and rise as the institution that gives solace to and serves as partner of the Filipino work force.

1957-1967. In the first decade of its operation alone, the SSS already showed its ability to address the challenges it is facing in the labor sector. In 1957 the Social Security Act of 1954 was promulgated, which established the SSS. It was also in this year where the SSS coverage of all employers in the private sector with 50 or more employees began. Likewise, in this year, the SSS started implementing the housing loan program, in coordination with the Home Financing Commission.

In celebration of the first anniversary of the SSS, there were changes that were implemented. It has expounded the coverage of employers, wherein even those with at least six employees were mandatorily covered and members for at least one year were allowed to receive sickness benefits.

It was also in this decade where Republic Act 339 was approved, which intended to a) increase the amount of retirement benefits; b) widen the coverage of the SSS to include employees of foreign governments or global organizations; and c) implement the provision for non-transferability of benefits. It was also during this time where the loan program for the members was implemented, wherein the loan may be paid within one year in equal monthly installments.

Among other important events during this time was the implementation of educational loan program for members with two years of service with their employer, decentralization of operation of the SSS and the implementation of calamity
loan program.

1968-1977. At the beginning of the new decade, the SSS began to intensify the programs it started and expounded the services it is giving to the members.

In 1969 Republic Act 6111, otherwise known as the Philippine Medical Care Act, was approved, which provides for hospitalization and medical benefits to a lot of members who cannot afford to pay these expenses due to financial incapacity. It was in 1972 when this law was implemented.

In 1972 former President Ferdinand E. Marcos signed Presidential Decree (PD) 24, increasing the amount of retirement benefits by 50 percent, increase in sickness benefits by 75 percent for members without dependents and increase in maximum daily sickness allowance from P8 to P12, coverage of those still seeking employment as prior registrants, and increase in contribution by 1 percent of the monthly compensation base, first in 1974 and, second, in 1979.

It was in the year 1973 when overseas Filipino workers were included in the scope of voluntary membership, increase in the amount of retirement benefits, inclusion of illegitimate children as dependents and the exclusion of the member’s siblings as beneficiaries, and the filing of charges against employers who failed or refused to register their employees in the SSS or deduct from their salaries and remit contributions of their employees to the SSS by virtue of PD 177. In this decade, the P750 funeral benefits for the beneficiaries of deceased active and retired members was implemented, as well as the Employees’ Compensation and State Insurance Fund, which will provide medical benefits and financial assistance to members with illnesses, for work-related disability or death.

1978-1987. During this time, SSS became the support system of Filipino workers in facing the crisis that challenged the ability and strength of every Filipino. The pari-passu program was implemented for participating financial institutions, or PFIs, wherein the SSS allotted P1 billion for the program, pursuant to a Social Security Commission Resolution. At this time, condonation of penalties for unpaid housing loans was implemented.

On account of the economic crisis our country was embroiled in, many workers lost their jobs. For the SSS to be able to support them in their suffering and be given an opportunity for a new beginning, in 1984, the SSS gave a loan equivalent to three months salary to these members.

In this time, retirement pension was increased several times without the corresponding increase in contributions, and the same with funeral benefits.

1988-1997. In this decade, the SSS started allotting funds for those intending to put up a business. Among the loans granted in the 1980s were: Membership Assistance for Development and Entrepreneurship, Industrial Modernization and Expansion Loan program, Special Financing Program for Vocational and Technical Schools and Small and Medium Industries Loan program. The SSS also started giving two months salary loan to all qualified members, and 13th-month pension for all pensioners of the SSS and EC. Farmers and fishermen earning at least P1,500 per month, household helpers with income at least P12,000 per year and nonworking spouse, were also included in the SSS coverage. It was in this decade where Republic Act 8282 was approved, which expanded the benefits being
provided by SSS.

Like the immediately preceding decade, there were several changes in the amount of benefits like monthly pension and funeral benefits.

 

To be continued

 

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