SOCIAL SECURITY. Members of the Social Security System attend a stakeholders forum at Hotel de Fides in Tacloban City on Wednesday (Aug. 24, 2022). During the gathering, SSS announced its plan to expand the Workers’ Investment and Savings Program. (PNA photo by Sarwell Meniano)

TACLOBAN CITY – The Social Security System (SSS) has already collected PHP24 billion in contributions as of May 2022 nationwide from the Workers’ Investment and Savings Program (WISP) since it was launched last year.

The program, according to Fernando Nicolas, acting head of the SSS public affairs division, will raise the savings of SSS members for higher retirement benefits.

“This is very effective since WISP fund generated an income of PHP333.77 million with a corresponding return of 6.39 percent in the first year of its implementation in 2021. Return of investment for WISP outperforms key market indicators,” Nicolas said during the stakeholders’ forum here on Wednesday.

Launched in January 2021, the WISP is a provident fund scheme managed by SSS intended as another savings for private sector workers and other individual members.

It was implemented in January 2021 as part of the landmark provisions under Republic Act 11199 or the Social Security Act of 2018.

Contributions to the fund will be invested following the principles of safety, high yield, and liquidity, and as provided under the law, which will yield additional pension income for contributing members.

Nicolas said all private sector employees, self-employed individuals, overseas workers, and voluntary members who have no final claim in the regular SSS program, have contributions in the regular SSS program, and have a monthly salary credit that exceeds PHP20,000 are automatically covered by the program.

He explained that WISP contributions are paid together with the contributions in the regular SSS program.

Earnings generated from WISP will be distributed proportionately based on the member’s contribution.

A member with a monthly income of PHP20,000 will contribute an additional PHP500 to the provident fund.

For those earning PHP21,000 or more monthly, the contribution ranges from PHP1,000 to PHP5,000 monthly.

Under WISP, members are entitled to a retirement fund, disability, and death benefits in addition to those provided by the regular SSS program.

All claims under WISP will be paid together with the SSS regular benefit.

“Our plan is to roll out WISP plus before the end of the year to cover those SSS members with less than PHP20,000 monthly salary. We will have (a) marketing campaign emphasizing to employers the importance of more retirement benefits for their workers,” Nicolas added.

Key SSS officials, including some of its commissioners, were in the city on Wednesday for the first provincial stakeholders’ forum since the pandemic broke out.

The gathering seeks to update employers and employees on policies and generate feedback to help improve their system. (PNA)