Being unemployed is tough trying to balance financial responsibilities knowing no income is coming, but did you also know SSS Philippines offers an unemployment benefit to Filipinos who are involuntarily unemployed? Yes, folks, SSS will pay you for being unemployed, but there is a catch, you will need to fit the criteria to be eligible to apply for the benefit, let’s take a look at what those are, shall we?
But First, What is an Unemployment Benefit by Social Security System?
SSS implemented as a Pursuant to Section 14-B of republic act (RA) No.1119 (Social Security Act of 2018) and Rule 27, also referred to as Unemployment Insurance or Involuntary Separation Benefit, it is a cash benefit which is granted to assist SSS covered employees including Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and Kasambahays, who were previously separated from employment involuntarily.
Involuntary is such a broad term, you may even wonder if this means only involuntary unemployed SSS members can apply, and the voluntary resigned unemployed cannot? You are not far off, there are however some exceptions.
Ineligible Involuntary Unemployment
Those who fall under these conditions cannot apply for the unemployment benefit if the reason for being unemployed, though involuntarily, but are separated from employment due to just cause under Article 297 (282) of P.D. No 442 (Labour code of the Philippines) as amended. These are those who are separated due to:
- A serious act of Misconduct;
- Willfully disobeying lawful orders;
- Habitual and Gross neglect of employees duties;
- Fraud/Willful breach of trust/contract;
- Committing a crime or offense; or,
- Similar cases such as abandonment, gross inefficiency, conflict of interest/disloyal/dishonesty.
OFW involuntary separation from employment shall be determined by DOLE
Who Qualifies to Apply for the Unemployment Grant?
To qualify, SSS members, including kasambahay and OFWs, should meet the following criteria before applying;
Members should be less than 60 years of age at the time of involuntary separation, except for Racehorse Jockeys (not over 55 years) and Mineworkers (not over 50 years).
Members should have made at least 36 monthly SSS contributions, 12 months of which should be within the 18-month period immediately exceeding the month of the involuntary separation from employment.
SSS unemployment insurance can be filed within one year from the date of involuntary separation but will only be able to only claim it once in 3 years.
Involuntary Unemployment Status:
We’re back to those who were separated from employment unwillingly or unplanned and are eligible to apply for the grant. That is, If the reasons for separation falls under the following, but not limited to;
- Employees terminated by employer on the following authorized causes under Articles 298 (283) and 299 (284) of P.D. No. 442 (Labor Code of Philippines), as amended, such as;
- Downsizing or retrenchment;
- Installation of labor-saving equipment;
- Closure or the Cessation of operation;
- Diseased/illness of an employee whose continued employment is prohibited by law or prejudicial to employee’s health and co-workers’ health.
- Voluntary unemployed SSS members can also apply for the sss unemployment benefit, provide the reason for leaving is a just cause that falls under Article 300 (285) of P.D. No 442 (Labor Code of the Philippines), such as:
- A serious insult by the employer or his representative on the honor and person of the employee.
- The employee being inhumanly or unbearably treated by the employer or his representative.
- The employer or his representative who commissions a crime or offense against the employee or on his/her immediate family members.
- Other causes that are similar to any of the previously stated;
- Natural or man-made calamities/disasters;
- Economic downturn;
- Other comparable cause as may be determined by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and SSS.
Now that we know your eligibility requirements, you can now visit an SSS office closest to you with the following documents at hand to apply for the unemployment benefit:
- Valid ID – Bring One (1) original copy with a photocopy of any of the following ID’s (original is required for authentication of copy only):
- UMID card;
- SS card;
- Alien Certificate of Registration;
- Drivers License;
- Firearm Registration;
- License to possess and own a firearm;
- NBI clearance;
- Permit to carry a firearm outside of residence;
- Postal ID;
- Seafarer ID and record book, or Voter card.
Note: If you don’t have any of the above-mentioned IDs, Bring in its place, the original and photocopy of two (2) IDs or documents, both with signatures and at least one with a photograph.
- DOLE Certificate of unemployment – This is meant to establish the nature and date of your involuntary separation from employment. If you don’t already have the certificate, you will need to get it before applying with SSS. Carry along one (1) valid ID and a photocopy and visit the;
- Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) field office closest to your employer’s office location and apply for certification or;
- Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) for OFWs.
- Notice of Termination: You are also required to bring the notice of termination from the employer and a photocopy to the SSS and DOLE office for both applications. If unavailable, get a Duly Notarized Affidavit of Termination of Employment available in its place with photocopies.
- Payment Method – Yes folks, here is the answer to how do you get paid the benefit, and how much? Eligible members will be granted an equivalent of twice (2X) half of the member’s average monthly salary credit (AMSC) as a one-time payment. Though referred to as a cash benefit, it’s currently not paid in cash or check. It can only be credited electronically into one of these two card accounts.
- A UMID card enrolled as ATM (UMID-ATM): Members can apply for UMID-ATM as a replacement if they already have a UMID card, or apply for initial UMID-ATM if none is available.
- A Union Bank Card Account; If Union Bank card is unavailable, provide a Union Bank statement of account with the member’s name, account number, bank branch and address included.
Applying members should bring along the ATM card of his choosing with a photocopy for documentation when filing for unemployment insurance. Other payment options will be made available duly.
Just to be clear this is a grant, not a loan, however, the settled amount will be deducted from members future benefits if:
- Members application is involved in fraud, misinterpretation or false-claims;
- Members application is re-employed within the compensable time;
- The applicant has overlapping benefits.
- Filed complaint against employer resulted in compensation of backwages or ruled as a just cause, under the Labor Code of the Philippines.