MANILA – The Employees' Compensation Commission (ECC) has provided assistance to over 200,000 workers and/or their families across the country who filed claims after experiencing work-related contingencies for this year.

In its accomplishment report released on Tuesday, the ECC reported that through its administering agencies -- the Social Security System (SSS) and the Government System Insurance System (GSIS) -- a total of 204,187 EC benefits claims worth PHP1.22 billion were approved and released to claimants on the first semester of 2022 under the Employees' Compensation (EC).

Of the number of claims, 79,474 were due to sickness; 10,272 were due to disability; 110,615 were under death and pension claims; 332 were for funeral benefits; 3,162 were for medical services including medical reimbursements; 35 for rehabilitation services; and 297 for the one-time financial assistance to qualified EC pensioners.

“ECC made sure to constantly revisit its existing programs and craft new ones that provide comprehensive solutions to the changing needs and demands of Filipino workers in both the private and public sectors; such responses to clients' real time concerns include programs that boost the morale of all persons with work-related disabilities (PWRDs),” it said.

Quick response program

The ECC also said it has made great strides in 2022 in terms of expanding its program to workers who contracted coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

In addition to the primary EC benefits provided by the SSS and GSIS under the EC program, the ECC Quick Response Program (QP) in the form of cash assistance intends to provide workers and their families with immediate financial support, as an ancillary benefit.

Workers with approved EC claims from the Systems are eligible for an additional PHP10,000 for sickness claims and PHPP15,000 for beneficiaries in case of work-related death claims.

The ECC said as of November, a total of PHP112.1 million in cash assistance benefits were granted to a total of 11,168 beneficiaries.

More than 10,000 of these approved applications were due to Covid-19 cases.

It also considers alternative modes of disbursing cash assistance claims in addition to the traditional releasing of payment via checks for a faster and more efficient disbursement process.

“The benefit will be transferred directly to the claimants' electronic accounts. This is also to mitigate the risks of contracting diseases that can be acquired thru face-to-face interactions,” the ECC added.

Aiding disabled workers

Other EC programs are being offered to workers, particularly those who have become physically challenged as a result of a work-related illness or accident.

ECC continues to provide rehabilitation services such as free physical, psychosocial, and occupational therapy, provision of a prosthesis and other assistive devices, enrollment of PWRDs in entrepreneurship programs, distribution of business starter kits worth PHP20,000 and an additional PHP10,000 complimentary kit.

For this year, 84 PWRDS received physical and occupational therapy services. This was 42 percent higher than the set target for 2022. Of this batch, 35 PWRDs were given prostheses or assistive devices.

“To ensure that they are equipped with new knowledge and skills after sustaining physical disabilities, ECC facilitated the enrollment of 127 PWRDs in livelihood skills trainings, which is a pre-qualifying requirement for the grant of an EC livelihood starter kit,” the Commission said.

Also, 55 PWRDs which were previously provided with EC livelihood starter kits, continue to grow their recently opened business.

Currently, 58 PWRDs are undergoing PT/OT. Aside from the free therapy sessions, they were also given PHP368,000 in transportation and meal allowances.

Disposition of EC appealed cases

Aside from providing monetary benefits, the ECC has quasi-judicial authority to decide on cases brought before it for review.

For 2022, it was able to resolve 51 EC-appealed cases, 9 of which were reversed and 42 were affirmed.

“These cases were lengthily studied by medical and legal experts to ensure that all cases are resolved effectively,” it added.

The ECC also said it continues to innovate the way it disseminates information to the public.

In 2022, ECC was able to organize 157 CP advocacy seminars, which is 95 percent of its target. These seminars were attended by more than 6,000 workers and almost 5,000 companies nationwide.

“In addition to these advocacy seminars, ECC participated in and attended over 600 webinar invitations to further promote the CP. These webinar invitations brought together 17, 139 companies and 29, 756 workers across the country,” the ECC added.

In terms of financial stability of the State Insurance Fund (SIF), the ECC had a notable performance in 2022, with total reserves of PHP6.78 billion worth of SSS-managed SIF for future payment of EC claims in the private sector and a total reserve of PHP33.46 billion of GSIS-managed SIF for future payment of EC claims in the public sector.

“The torch that fuels the public service will continue to ignite ECC's determination to serve the Filipino workers. It will not be limited by any future challenges that will come its way. Rather, those will serve as a motivation to always come out with improved services and programs that are hinged on the desire to provide full protection to Filipino workers,” it said.

The ECC is an attached agency of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). (PNA)