THE Social Security System (SSS) announced on Monday it has disbursed a total of P2.49 trillion benefits through the 45 million claims it has received from the start of its operations in September 1957 up to August 2022. The private sector pension fund made this disclosure as it reached its 65th year of service to the working Filipinos.
Long-term benefits accounted for almost 90 percent of the said disbursements with retirement benefit at nearly P1.33 trillion, death benefit at P792.92 billion, and disability benefit at P119.18 billion for a total of around P2.24 trillion.
Short-term benefits, on the other hand, made up the remaining 10 percent with maternity benefit at P120.91 billion, funeral benefit at P68.17 billion, sickness benefit at P56.92 billion, unemployment benefit at P3.69 billion, and employees’ compensation medical or rehab services at P1.77 billion for a total of about P251.47 billion.
SSS President and CEO Michael G. Regino said that if the total amount of SSS benefit disbursements for the said period is adjusted for inflation, this would amount to P3.77 trillion with long-term benefits at P3.33 trillion and short-term benefits at P433.25 billion.
“From 1957 up to 2021, we recorded annual increases in the amount of benefit disbursements, except only for 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Our P223.98 billion benefit disbursements for 2021 are an all-time high. This year, however, we are on track to exceed this amount as for the first eight months of 2022, we have already disbursed P165.04 billion benefits, which is 7.1-percent more than the P154.05 billion disbursed for the same period last year,” Regino said.
The constant growth in SSS’s benefit disbursements can be attributed mainly to the gradual addition of benefits, increase in the number of its members, and expansion of membership coverage.
Some of these factors are the scheduled reforms provided under the Social Security Act of 2018. This includes the increase in the contribution rate, and minimum and maximum monthly salary credit (MSC) every other year starting 2019 until 2025, which apart from strengthening the SSS fund life would gradually raise the minimum and maximum benefit a member may receive.
The provisions of the said law also include the introduction of the Mandatory Provident Fund in 2021 for the portion of contributions in excess of the P20,000 MSC, and the upcoming launch of the voluntary provident fund, Workers’ Investment and Savings (WISP) Plus, which both would promote higher benefits for members and their beneficiaries; the expansion of mandatory coverage to Overseas Filipino Workers; and the granting of the Unemployment Benefit, among others.
Another factor is the implementation of the Expanded Maternity Leave Law on March 11, 2019, which increases the number of compensable days of maternity leave, from the initial 60 days for normal delivery or 78 days for caesarian section delivery, to 105 days for live childbirth—regardless of the type of delivery and an additional 15 days paid leave if the female worker qualifies as a solo parent.
The law also granted further consideration to our women by extending maternity leave to every instance of pregnancy, miscarriage, or ETP, regardless of frequency, from the previous limit of the first four deliveries or miscarriages.
“Behind each of the millions of claims we have disbursed over the past 65 years is a member that we have provided with meaningful social security protection during contingencies,” Regino said.
“Guided by our experience, knowledge, and culture of excellence, we will continue to fulfill this mandate and work towards establishing a stronger and sustainable SSS for the current and future generations of workers in the private and informal sector,” he concluded.