Social Security System amid the Covid-19 crisis

The Philippines is dealing with a pandemic that is currently confronting the rest of the world. As we write this column, we now have 501 reported cases and around 33 deaths. Our national government continues to monitor and combat the spread of the deadly Covid-19. In fact, more and more cities and municipalities are taking preventive measures to suppress or prevent local transmission.

Enhanced community quarantine is being implemented to stop the spread of the virus, which include class suspensions, the setting up of military and police checkpoints in various cities, temporary closure of malls and other business establishments except for those that provide basic necessities, as well as cancellation of mass gatherings such as sporting events, concerts, large seminars and conventions, worship services, and other religious gatherings. With the enhanced community quarantine, citizens are strongly advised to stay at home, and alternative work arrangements have already been implemented in some private and public institutions.

On March 16, 2020, SSS branches took similar preventive measures in adherence to the call of the Department of Health and the Local Government Units to strictly observe the social distancing protocol. Branches implemented stern screening of transacting members by setting up thermal scanners, including the provision of sanitizers and disinfectants at the entrance. Members were asked to fill-out contact-tracing forms upon entry, while social distancing policy is being observed within branch premises. Other branches installed improvised plastic partitions functioning as droplet barriers at every counter.

Last week, the SSS implemented its skeletal work force arrangement and drop box system in the National Capital Region (NCR) and Luzon branches, while Visayas and Mindanao branches also have their skeletal work force. Although SSS has limited its face-to-face interaction with transacting clients, the pension fund is now encouraging members to utilize our various online and mobile services at the comfort of their homes. In fact, digitalization is one of the top priorities of the current SSS management to provide easy, convenient, and unique customer experience to all members, pensioners, and their beneficiaries.

The My.SSS Portal can be accessed by individual members through SSS’ official web site<>. They just have to register first by supplying personal information, accepting the terms of service and clicking the activation link e-mailed to them, which will lead the user to the account password set-up page. Member’s information that are available include registration information, contribution and loan records, and benefit claim status. Members can also file their maternity notification and retirement application, submit their salary loan applications and bank enrollment, inquire or generate their Payment Reference Numbers (PRN) and pay online, update contact information, and even use the simulated retirement calculator.

Aside from My.SSS, the SSS Mobile Application is also available. In fact, this user-friendly application can easily be downloaded in Google Play Store, Apple App Store, and Huawei App Gallery. Using our mobile application, members can view their membership information, contribution and loan records; submit salary loan application and maternity notification; generate PRN; update contact information; register to create a My.SSS portal account; view list of documentary requirements; and inquire on branch location with location maps.

For members who don’t have regular mobile data on their cell phones, they may also use Text-SSS to get their PRN and inquire on their membership records, such as contributions, claim status, loan balance and loan status. To register, kindly text SSS REG <SSNUMBER> <BDAYmm/dd/yyyy> to 2600. To know the appropriate keywords for inquiries, text SSS HELP to 2600. Text SSS has a service fee of P2.50 for Globe and Smart subscribers, and P2 for Sun Cellular subscribers.

Aside from SMS and mobile app services, an Interactive Voice Response System is also being offered by SSS to provide automated response to inquiries on contribution and loan records, claim status, and loan and benefit eligibility. Members in the National Capital Region may call 7-917-7777. Other IVRS Hotlines are: 8-442-6016 Baguio City; 8-982-8739 Tarlac; 8-562-9298 San Pablo; 8-472-7776 Naga; 8-253-0690 Cebu; 3-433-9476 Bacolod; 8-858-3790 Cagayan de Oro; 3-227-7273 Davao; and 8-992-2014 Zamboanga City. Meanwhile, those residing outside NCR who are Globe subscribers may also call 7-917-7777 free of toll fee charges.

As mandated by the national government, the Social Security System complies with the call for unity and cooperation during this enhanced community quarantine period and still ensures continuity of service to its members through its web services at the convenience of every member and working Filipino.

Also, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the brave men and women of SSS who continue to report for work amid this crisis —our skeletal force—the drivers, programmers, human resource personnel, janitors, security guards, utility workers, cashiers and investment people who selflessly risk their lives in the interest of public service. For the SSS officials and employees who are working from their respective homes, my sincerest thanks for your hard work, dedication and professionalism.

We are one in this battle and with God’s grace, we will be able to surpass all these challenges.

Stay safe, mga kabalikat.

Aurora C. Ignacio is SSS president and chief executive officer.

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