State-run Social Security System (SSS) has jacked up unemployment benefit disbursements in the first six months of the year after claims increased by more than fourfold.

SSS Headquarters in Quezon City

Aurora C. Ignacio, SSS president and chief executive officer said the pension fund’s unemployment benefit releases amounted to P732.15 million in January to June this year, 407 percent higher compared with a year ago.

Ignacio said the steep jump was registered after the number of claims increased 355 percent year-on-year to 54,282 members from 11,917.

There was greater members’ awareness on the availability of this particular SSS benefit for those who were involuntarily separated from work mainly due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ignacio added.

“We’re glad that this program was able to assist our workers in the private sector especially during these times that majority were left jobless due to the pandemic,” Ignacio said in a statement on Wednesday, Aug. 25.

“Aside from that, the safety and convenience of our online services and checkless disbursements helped our qualified members to get their benefits on time which really served their purpose,” she added.

The Unemployment Benefit is one of the provisions of Republic Act No.11199 or Social Security Act of 2018 effective March 5, 2019.

Qualified are covered employees, including household helpers and overseas filipino workers who were involuntarily separated from employment due to economic downturn, natural or human-induced calamities, among others.

Moreover, members must not be more than 60 years old at the time of involuntary separation. In the case of underground or surface mineworkers and racehorse jockeys,they should not be more than 50 and 55 years old, respectively.

Members must have also paid at least 36 monthly contributions, 12 months of which should have been paid within the 18-month period before the involuntary separation.

Qualified members will receive a monthly cash benefit which is equivalent to 50 percent of member’s average monthly salary credit (AMSC) for a maximum of two months.

Benefit claim should be filed within one year from the date of member’s involuntary separation.

Meanwhile, Ignacio reminded their members to register online at the SSS website to create their own My.SSS accounts for the enrollment of disbursement account via the Disbursement Account Enrollment Module before the online submission of unemployment benefit claim application.

Source: Manila Bulletin (