Losing your job suddenly can be an extremely terrifying experience, especially if you are the primary provider for your family. How To Apply for SSS Unemployment Benefit: An Ultimate Guide This is an unfortunate reality for many Filipinos who rely solely on their employment for income. Fortunately, the Social Security System (SSS) offers an unemployment benefit as a key provision of the Social Security Act of 2018 (Republic Act 11199). This benefit can provide temporary financial assistance for Filipino employees who have recently been laid off while they search for new employment. This guide will walk you through the process of applying for and filing an SSS unemployment benefits claim so that you can maintain financial stability during this challenging time. Remember, while unemployment may be difficult, it is not the end of the world.
What Is the SSS Unemployment Benefit?
The SSS unemployment benefit, also known as unemployment insurance or involuntary separation benefit, provides cash assistance to Filipino employees, including kasambahays and Overseas Filipino Workers (both sea-based and land-based), who have lost their jobs unexpectedly. This benefit is not a loan and does not need to be repaid. It is the newest benefit offered by the Social Security System (SSS), which also provides other benefits such as maternity, sickness, disability, retirement, funeral, and death benefits.
The Social Security Act of 2018 (RA 11199) made unemployment benefits a reality and is implemented through Rule 27 of its Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR). During the COVID-19 pandemic, SSS approved over Php 1.2 billion in unemployment benefits for up to 60,000 premium-paying members who lost their jobs due to the pandemic. As of September 2021, the total number of recipients has reached 196,000 members, who have received PHP 2.35 billion worth of SSS unemployment benefits since March 2020.
SSS can finance unemployment benefits due to the increased SSS contribution, as mandated by RA 11199. This law increased SSS contributions from 11% to 12% in 2019, 13% in 2021, 14% in 2023, and 15% in 2025, with two-thirds to be shouldered by the employer and one-third by the employee.
When Did the SSS Unemployment Benefit Become Effective?
The SSS Circular No. 2019-0113 states that the regulations concerning unemployment benefits will be applicable to employees who have been involuntarily separated from their jobs on or after March 5, 2019. This implies that Filipino workers who have been terminated from their employment from March 5, 2019, onwards will be eligible for SSS unemployment insurance, subject to fulfilling the necessary qualification criteria, which will be elaborated on later.
When Should You File a Claim for SSS Unemployment Benefit?
The claim for unemployment benefits from the Social Security System (SSS) needs to be submitted within one year from the date of involuntary separation. In case the deadline falls on March 5, 2020, the member can still file the claim within 60 days from the last day of the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) or General Community Quarantine (GCQ) declared by the government.
To put it differently, if you are eligible for unemployment benefits in the Philippines, you can receive an amount equivalent to 50% of your monthly salary for a maximum of two months. For example, if your monthly salary is PHP 10,000, then the amount of insurance you can claim is PHP 5,000 per month, for a total of PHP 10,000.
Another way to calculate your unemployment benefit is to use the Average Monthly Salary Credit (AMSC) formula. The Monthly Salary Credit (MSC) is the basis for determining the amount of contribution that will be deducted from your salary. The MSC is calculated as the median of the range of compensation, with the minimum and maximum MSC set at PHP 3,000 and PHP 25,000, respectively.
Suppose you have a monthly salary of PHP 10,000, and your MSC is PHP 10,000 according to the SSS contribution table. However, your AMSC is calculated differently. According to the Social Security Act of 2018, your AMSC will be the higher of either:
The sum of the last sixty monthly salary credits divided by sixty, or
The sum of all the monthly salary credits paid prior to the semester of contingency divided by the number of monthly contributions paid in the same period.
Assuming your salary remains the same, your AMSC will also be PHP 10,000. Therefore, you can receive PHP 5,000 for one month, which is 50% of your AMSC.
If a member is unemployed, they are covered for a maximum of 2 months and will receive PHP 5,000 per month. Therefore, the total unemployment benefit a member can receive is PHP 10,000.
To calculate this benefit, you can multiply PHP 5,000 by 2, and then multiply the result by 50% (0.5), which gives you PHP 10,000.
However, in early 2021, a new bill was filed that proposes to triple the insurance benefits for unemployed members. Under this bill, the unemployment benefit would be equivalent to 50% of the member’s monthly salary for up to 6 months, instead of the current maximum of 2 months. For example, if a member earns PHP 10,000 per month, they could receive a total of PHP 30,000 in unemployment benefits if the bill is passed.
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