May 17, 2020 5 min read

8 Comments

Getting laid off from work is undoubtedly one of the most traumatic things to experience in one’s career. Aside from the pain of rejection, a terminated employee has to deal with the challenges that come with the sudden loss of income. There are bills to pay, mouths to feed, and other financial responsibilities that won’t go away.

Government employees enjoy unemployment benefits from the GSIS, which protect them from the financial impact of involuntary separation from the service. Private employees now have a reprieve as well through unemployment insurance mandated by the newly enacted Republic Act 11199 or Social Security Act of 2018[1].

Qualified SSS members are entitled to unemployment benefits that help ease their financial burden while they’re looking for a new job. Even if you think your chances of getting terminated from work are slim, it’s important to know what the unemployment insurance provision means.

What is the SSS Unemployment Benefits Program?

The SSS Unemployment Benefits program provides cash assistance to involuntarily separated employees, including household employees and overseas Filipino workers. The cash grant is worth 50% of the member’s average monthly salary credit (MSC).

The program will last for only two months, which means members can only receive them once every three years. This cash grant is just meant to help you get by while you’re out there looking for a new job.

To find out your MSC, check out the updated contributions table below. Find your salary bracket under the Range of Compensation column and check the corresponding MSC under the next column.

sss contribution table

sss contribution table

Proponents of the unemployment insurance provision in the law clarify that this benefit isn’t a loan. The unemployment benefits are a new addition to the six existing SSS benefits (sickness, maternity, retirement, disability, death, and funeral benefits) that qualified members can avail. This means you don’t need to pay the SSS for the financial assistance you will receive.

Who can apply for SSS Unemployment Benefits?

The criteria for receiving SSS unemployment benefits borrows some qualifications from other SSS benefits, together with termination conditions that basically boils down to this: If you were fired with or without notice, you can apply for this SSS benefit.

Note that you can only apply for SSS unemployment once every three years.

  • Members who are 60 years old and below
  • Members who made at least 36 monthly contributions, 12 months of which should’ve been paid within the last 18 months prior to the separation
  • Members who didn’t apply or didn’t receive unemployment checks for the last three years
  • Members who were fired for the following reasons:
    • Authorized causes under Articles 298 (283) and 299 (284) of P.D. No. 442 or the Labor Code of the Philippines
      • Installation of labor-saving devices
      • Redundancy
      • Retrenchment or downsizing
      • Closure or cessation of operation
      • Disease/illness of the employee whose continued employment is prohibited by law or is prejudicial to his or her co-employees’ health
    • Authorized caused under Article 300 (285) of P.D. No. 442 or the Labor Code of the Philippines
      • Serious insult by the employer or his representative on the honor and person of the employee
      • Inhuman and unbearable treatment accorded the employee by the employer or his/her representative
      • Commission of a crime or offense by the employer or his/her representative against the person of the employee or any of the immediate members of his/ her family
    • Other causes similar to the above
      • Economic downturn
      • Natural or human-induced calamities/disasters
      • Other cases as determined by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and SSS

Who can’t apply for SSS Unemployment Benefits?

Losing your job doesn’t automatically qualify you to receive SSS unemployment benefits. It will all depend on the nature of your separation. The law clearly states that only those who are “involuntarily unemployed” are entitled to SSS unemployment benefits.

On the other hand, if your unemployment is voluntary—meaning you resigned from work, the SSS won’t give you unemployment benefits. Here are some more exceptions.

  • Members who were fired for the following reasons:
    • Causes under Article 297 (282) of P.D. No. 442 or the Labor Code of the Philippines
      • Serious misconduct
      • Willful disobedience to lawful orders
      • Gross and habitual neglect of duties
      • Fraud or willful breach of trust/loss of confidence
      • Commission of a crim; or
      • Similar cases like abandonment, gross inefficiency, disloyalty/conflict of interest/dishonesty

Who can’t apply for SSS Unemployment Benefits?

Losing your job doesn’t automatically qualify you to receive SSS unemployment benefits. It will all depend on the nature of your separation. The law clearly states that only those who are “involuntarily unemployed” are entitled to SSS unemployment benefits.

On the other hand, if your unemployment is voluntary—meaning you resigned from work, the SSS won’t give you unemployment benefits. Here are some more exceptions.

  • Members who were fired for the following reasons:
    • Causes under Article 297 (282) of P.D. No. 442 or the Labor Code of the Philippines
      • Serious misconduct
      • Willful disobedience to lawful orders
      • Gross and habitual neglect of duties
      • Fraud or willful breach of trust/loss of confidence
      • Commission of a crim; or
      • Similar cases like abandonment, gross inefficiency, disloyalty/conflict of interest/dishonesty

SSS Unemployment Benefits Requirements

  • Original and photocopy of one (1) primary ID. If you don’t have any of these IDs, provide an original and photocopy of any two (2) IDs with a photo and signature.
    • Unified Multi-Purpose ID (UMID)
    • SSS card
    • Alien Certificate of Registration
    • Driver’s License
    • Firearm Registration
    • License to Own and Possess Firearms
    • NBI Clearance
    • Passport
    • Permit to Carry Firearms Outside of Residence
    • Postal Identity Card
    • Seafarer’s Identification & Record Book
    • Voter’s ID Card
  • Certification of the nature and date of involuntary separation from DOLE
  • Notice of Termination from Employer
  • Affidavit of Termination of Employment

How do I apply for SSS Unemployment Benefits?

Due to the enhanced quarantine, members can’t go to their nearest SSS branches to apply for this benefit. According to SSS, they are working on an online filing system to make it easier for members to apply. But due to the limited workforce, the agency has yet to tally the number of displaced workers, but they promised to launch the online filing system by the end of April[2].

How can SSS afford this program?

RA 11199, which requires SSS to pay unemployment benefits to jobless members, is the same law that raises the SSS contribution rate from 11% to 12% in 2019, 13% in 2021, 14% in 2023, and 15% in 2025. Two-thirds of the increase will be shouldered by the employer, while one-third will be deducted from the employee.

And according to SSS, they have set aside PHP 660 million for the distribution of unemployment benefits, and another PHP 1.2 billion “under a worst-case scenario.” The current cash position of the agency is PHP 21 billion and the actuarial life of SSS earnings is projected to last until 2045[3].

Final Thoughts

Losing your job may look bad now, but it doesn’t spell the end for you. Thanks to these cash assistance programs, you can still bounce back and find a new job in no time. Just be patient, be more resourceful, and don’t waste your cash aid on trivial things.


8 Responses

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October 24, 2020

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October 24, 2020

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October 11, 2020

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October 11, 2020

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September 10, 2020

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September 10, 2020

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iris c. dabon
iris c. dabon

May 17, 2020

I’m a solo parent.

Johnny del rosario
Johnny del rosario

May 17, 2020

Please help if am qualified to unemployment benefit bec of my health condition i was operated in gallbladder polyps last jan 21.hoping for your help.

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