SSS pushes for social security protection among seafarers

SSS logo.
SSS logo.

THE Social Security System (SSS) has urged all Filipino seafarers to become SSS members to secure themselves and their families future.

About 350,000 seafarers are already members of SSS.

SSS president and chief executive officer Rolando Ledesma Macasaet, in a statement, told seafarers to strive to pay at least P120 monthly SSS contributions so they can receive a lifetime monthly pension once they have retired.

“Contributing to the SSS is one way of investing in their future. Aside from retirement benefits, employed SSS members like seafarers are entitled to sickness, maternity, disability, unemployment, funeral and death benefits,” he said.

SSS signed an agreement as one of the members of the newly formed Maritime Industry Tripartite Council (MITC) organized by the Department of Migrant Workers, representing the government sector.

“With this agreement, SSS commits itself to promote the welfare of Filipino seafarers and their families by providing them with financial assistance during contingencies such as disability, sickness, maternity, unemployment, old age, funeral and death,” Macasaet said.

MITC is composed of labor groups, manning agencies, ship owners and government agencies.

Loan programs

According to Macasaet, seafarers can take advantage of various SSS loan programs, such as salary and calamity, and get additional coverage from the Employees’ Compensation Program for work-related sickness or injury resulting in disability, or death.

He noted that since seafarers are contributing to the regular SSS program with a Monthly Salary Credit that exceeds P20,000, seafarers are also automatically enrolled in the Workers’ Investment and Savings Program (WISP).

Under this compulsory provident fund scheme, he said each contributing member will have an account wherein SSS will place their contributions and investment earnings. Members pay their WISP contributions together with their regular SSS contributions.

He added that seafarers would get their total contributions and investment income at the time of their retirement, which they may opt to receive as a monthly annuity if their WISP savi ngs exceed P100,000.

“Seafarers can receive it as a lump sum if their contributions and investment income are less than P100,000. If it is P100,000 or more, they can receive it as a combination of lump sum and monthly pension or a fixed monthly annuity which will be released together with their regular monthly pension,” he said.

Likewise, Macasaet urged seafarers to consider their financial future and save their hard-earned money in WISP Plus, the SSS voluntary retirement savings program. This program gives seafarers the power to choose and plan for their retirement, in addition to the retirement pension from the regular social security program and annuity from the WISP.

SSS members can contribute as little as P500 per payment whenever they want to receive this additional layer of social security protection.

He noted the members’ pooled contributions under WISP Plus would generate investment earnings, which would be credited to their individual accounts tax-free.

According to SSS, retirement benefit remains the most availed benefit reaching P156.7 billion in 2023, benefitting 2.2 million payees followed by death benefits with a total release of P70.1 billion to 1.4 million beneficiaries last year and maternity benefit with a disbursement of P14.1 billion to 357,000 members in 2023. / KOC

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