BusinessMirror

SSS self-employed, voluntary membership up by 20.2%

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THE number of self-employed and voluntary members (SEVM) of the Social Security System (SSS) increased by 20.2 percent to 8.43 million, as of May 2021. SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Aurora C. Ignacio said the double-digit jump in voluntary and self-employed membership is a clear indicator that more individual­s now recognize the value of SSS coverage, particular­ly the benefits and privileges the pension fund offers, more than ever during these challengin­g times.

“While mobility is affected as a result of community quarantine­s and lockdowns, the pandemic did not stop SSS in its campaign for universal coverage, especially for those in the informal sector. We made sure that our online facilities—particular­ly our social media accounts, online seminar sessions, and e-learning portal—remained active and widely accessible to continuous­ly inform the public and our members that social security protection is an affordable investment and savings option during this pandemic and in the future,” Ignacio said.

Of the 40.52 million total covered SSS members as of May 2021, about 8.3 percent or 3.36 million are self-employed, while 12.5 percent or 5.07 million are voluntary members.

“Being part of the 3.73 million unemployed individual­s (per the latest Labor Force Survey of the Philippine Statistics Authority, as of May 2021), they are deemed as the most vulnerable members of the society. SSS coverage is the most affordable form of social security they can avail of,” Ignacio said.

A self-employed member should not be over 60 years old and has no employer other than himself/herself, and derives a monthly income of P3,250 below from trade, business or occupation. These include self-employed profession­als; partners and single proprietor­s of businesses; actors and actresses, directors, scriptwrit­ers, and news correspond­ents who do not fall within the definition of the term “employee;” profession­al athletes, coaches, trainers, and jockeys; individual farmers and fisherfolk­s; workers in the informal sector such as market and ambulant vendors, transport workers, and those similarly situated. Contractua­l and job order personnel engaged by the government through a Contract of Service and who are not covered by the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) and other selfemploy­ed persons as may be determined by the Social Security Commission (SSC) are also included in this category.

A voluntary member, meanwhile, could either be a non-working spouse (NWS) of an SSS member or a separated member. NWS members are those who are legally married to a currently employed and actively paying SSS member, devoting full time in the management of household and family affairs, and has never been a member of the SSS. Those separated from employment or have ceased to be selfemploy­ed, an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW), or an NWS but intends to continue paying SSS contributi­ons on his/her own account, falls under this category.

Regularly paying, self-employed, and voluntary members are entitled to the same social security benefits such as sickness, maternity, disability, retirement, death, and funeral benefits. They are also qualified to avail of member loans for salary, calamity, and educationa­l assistance as well as pension loan once they become retiree-pensioners.

“Like covered employees in the private sector and household workers, self-employed members are now covered as provided in the Employees’ Compensati­on Program (ECP) and now have additional benefits in the event of work-related contingenc­ies such as sickness, injury, disability, or death,” Ignacio added.

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