MANILA – The Social Security System (SSS) has disbursed a total of PHP 2.49 trillion benefits through the 45 million claims it has received when it started operations in September 1957 up to August 2022.

In a statement on Tuesday, SSS President and CEO Michael Regino said the long-term benefits accounted for almost 90 percent or PHP2.24 trillion of the disbursements with the retirement benefit at nearly PHP1.33 trillion, death benefit at PHP792.92 billion, and disability benefit at PHP119.18 billion.

The short-term benefits made up the remaining 10 percent or PHP251.47 billion with maternity benefit at PHP120.91 billion, funeral benefit at PHP68.17 billion, sickness benefit at PHP56.92 billion, unemployment benefit at PHP3.69 billion, and employees’ compensation medical or rehab services at PHP1.77 billion.

He noted that if the total disbursements is to be adjusted for inflation, it would amount to PHP3.77 trillion for the long-term benefits and PHP433.25 billion for the short term benefits.

“From 1957 up to 2021, we recorded annual increases in the amount of benefit disbursements, except only for 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Our PHP223.98 billion benefit disbursements for 2021 are an all-time high,” he said.

Gradual addition of benefits, increase in the number of its members, and expansion of membership coverage are some of the factors that led to the constant growth in SSS benefit disbursements.

“This year, however, we are on track to exceed this amount as for the first eight months of 2022, we have already disbursed PHP165.04 billion benefits, which is 7.1 percent more than the PHP154.05 billion disbursed for the same period last year,” he added.

Under the Social Security Act of 2018, there had been an increase in the contribution rate, and minimum and maximum monthly salary credit (MSC) that started in 2019 and would continue until 2025 -- strengthening the SSS fund life and gradually raising the minimum and maximum benefit a member may receive.

Its provisions include the introduction of the mandatory provident fund in 2021 for the portion of contributions in excess of the PHP20,000 MSC, and the upcoming launch of the voluntary provident fund, workers’ investment and savings plus, which both would promote higher benefits for members and their beneficiaries; the expansion of mandatory coverage to overseas Filipino workers; and the granting of the unemployment benefit.

Another factor is the implementation of the Expanded Maternity Leave Law on March 11, 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.

It also granted further consideration to our women by extending maternity leave to every instance of pregnancy, miscarriage, or ETP, regardless of frequency, from the previous limit of the first four deliveries or miscarriages.

“Guided by our experience, knowledge, and culture of excellence, we will continue to fulfill this mandate and work towards establishing a stronger and sustainable SSS for the current and future generations of workers in the private and informal sector,” Regino said. (PNA)