REGULAR paying members of the Social Security System (SSS) were assured of unemployment benefits when laid off or after the closure of their companies amid the economic fallout from the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).
Christian Rillorta, SSS Baguio public information officer, explained unemployment benefits were instituted last year composed of cash assistance for members who were involuntary laid off from work because of company closure. This also applies to those affected by the pandemic.
“We are anticipating the bulk of application of our members who may avail of the unemployment benefit of the SSS within two to three months from now if ever companies have filed for closure due to the Covid crisis. If ever there are employed members that might be laid-off due to Covid crisis, we are advising them to secure once they receive a document from their company a certification from the Department of Labor and Employment, which is one of the requirements, followed by an application form which will then be submitted to the SSS--aside from the member's assurance that they have been continuously contributing for 36 months,” Rillorta said.
SSS premium-paying members can avail of unemployment benefits equivalent to half of their average monthly salary credit (AMSC) for a maximum of two months if they are displaced because of redundancy, installation of labor-saving devices, retrenchment, closure or cessation of operation and disease or illness.
Members should have paid the requisite minimum number of monthly contributions for three years to qualify for this unemployment benefit, 12 of which should have been made in the last eighteen months.
At present, SSS Baguio is receiving applicants who were laid off due to previous closures of companies and not Covid-19 related.
“So far there are still no applicants that have filed for the unemployment benefit related to the Covid-19 pandemic since I think there is still no company that has totally closed. We are not sure if their employees have availed of the unemployment benefit but we are anticipating the possible closure of companies because of the Covid crisis,” Rillorta added.
Those ineligible to access the unemployment benefit are those who resigned due to a case, those who were laid off because of absence without leave and other related reasons.
“Again, those who may avail of the unemployment benefit are those because the company filed for bankruptcy, redundant position, including overseas Filipino workers who were repatriated and were retrenched or laid off,” Rillorta added.
The state-run pension fund is ready to shell out P1.2 billion under a worst-case scenario in which as many as 60,000 of its premium-paying members are projected to lose their jobs in the months ahead and apply for unemployment benefits.