SSS benefit payouts setting new records

The Social Security System is expected to post another record amount of benefit disbursements within a year, to surpass the P224 billion released in 2021, mainly due to additions in the range of benefits as well as expansion of membership.

Michael Regino, president and chief executive of SSS, said in a statement that the fund had recorded annual increases in the amount of benefits disbursed since it was founded in 1957 –except in 2020 at the height of the disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our P223.98 billion benefit disbursements for 2021 are an all-time high,” Regino said. “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.”

He said the nearly constant growth in disbursements could 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 arise from scheduled reforms provided under the Social Security Act of 2018, including the increase in the contribution rate, and minimum and maximum monthly salary credit (MSC) every other year starting 2019 until 2025.

Regino said that with these changes, SSS members would gradually raise the minimum and maximum benefit each one may receive. In the coming years, SSS disbursement will be buoyed by introduction of the Mandatory Provident Fund in 2021 for the portion of contributions in excess of the P20,000 monthly salary credit, and the upcoming launch of the voluntary provident fund called Workers’ Investment and Savings (WISP) Plus.

There are also the expansion of mandatory coverage to overseas Filipino workers and the granting of the unemployment benefit.

Further, there is the implementation of the Expanded Maternity Leave Law in 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.

Regino said the SSS 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.

Long-term benefits accounted for almost 90 percent or P2.24 trillion of total disbursements, with retirement benefit at nearly P1.33 trillion, death benefit at P792.92 billion, and disability benefit at P119.18 billion. Short-term benefits accounted for the remaining 10 percent of P251.5 billion, 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.

“If adjusted for inflation, [SSS disbursements] would amount to P3.77 trillion with long-term benefits at P3.33 trillion and short-term benefits at P433.25 billion,” Regino said./30