SSS Unemployment Insurance or Involuntary Separation Benefits (Section 14-B) is among the major provisions in the Philippine Social Security Act of 2018, or the Republic Act No. 11199: An Act Rationalizing and Expanding the Powers and Duties of the Social Security Commission to Ensure that Long-Term Viability of the Social Security System, which President Rodrigo Duterte signed on February 07, 2019. As stipulated:
Section 14-B. Unemployment Insurance or Involuntary Separation Benefits. A member who is not over sixty (60) years of age who has paid at least 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: Provided, that an employee who is involuntary unemployed can only claim unemployment benefits once every three (3) years: Provided, further, that in case of concurrence of two or more compensable contingencies, only the highest benefit shall be paid, subject to the rules and regulations that the Commission may prescribe.
Currently, there are six types of Social Security System (SSS) member benefits – sickness, maternity, disability, retirement, funeral, and death – and, unemployment insurance or involuntary separation benefit comes as a new provision.
SSS Unemployment Insurance Benefits Requirements. As can be understood, as an SSS member, you can claim such unemployment insurance benefits provided that:
- You have been involuntarily separated from job, retrenched, laid off, or fired;
- You are not over sixty (60) years of age; and
- You have paid at least thirty-six (36) months contributions, twelve (12) months of which should be in the eighteen-month period immediately preceding the involuntary unemployment.
SSS Unemployment Insurance Cash Benefits. While the cash benefits do not convert to any form of SSS loans, you are entitled upon qualification:
- Cash payments equivalent to fifty percent (50%) of the average monthly salary credit for a maximum of two (2) months (i.e., if you earn PHP 10,000 a month, your unemployment insurance benefit is up to PHP 10,000 for the two months);
- Such cash benefits can only be claimed once every three (3) years; and
- In case of the concurrence of two or more SSS benefits (e.g., sickness, maternity), only the highest benefits can be claimed.
Other Highlights of the Social Security Act
Essentially, RA 11199, or Social Security Act of 2018, aims to strengthen the pension fund and extend its viability through its salient features such as the rationalization of the powers of the Social Security Commission, allowing it to expand its investing capacity for the generation of better income and for the benefit of all its members and pensioners in general. Specifically, it:
- Empowers the Commission to increase the benefits of its members, which particularly include retirees and those laid off from jobs, condone penalties, and rationalize investments;
- Strengthens the pension fund though the gradual increase (or one percentage point every two years) in monthly contributions from 11 percent in 2019 until it reaches 15 percent in 2025 and adjustment of the minimum and maximum salary credits;
- Provides for the mandatory SSS coverage of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to ensure their social security protection provided they are not over 60 years of age; and
- Directs the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to negotiate bilateral labor agreements with OFWs’ host countries to ensure the employers pay the required SSS contributions.
The Social Security Commission (SSC) through its governing board is tasked to create the implementing rules and regulation (IRR) for the new law. We will share here the actual requirements and processes on how to apply for and claim SSS unemployment insurance benefits as soon as they become available.