The Social Security System (SSS) has released P10.49 billion under its maternity benefit program, with some 290,000 female members as beneficiaries in 2020, almost double the amount paid by the state pension fund in 2016.
Aurora Ignacio, SSS president and chief executive officer, said yesterday based on tentative data, the steep jump in benefit releases occurred in 2019 when an additional P3.35 billion in maternity disbursements was recorded, following the implementation of the 105-day Expanded Maternity Leave Law.
“Since the allowed maternity leave was extended up to 105 days, it is expected that the benefit releases will also dramatically increase. Based on our data, the average annual disbursements in 2016 or three years before implementing the law is at P6.16 billion. Now that it has been implemented since March 11, 2019, the average annual release is now pegged at P10.45 billion,” Ignacio said.
However, the SSS chief noted a slight decrease in the total number of beneficiaries last year, attributing this to quarantine restrictions imposed by the government since March 2020 to stem the COVID-19 infection.
“Since the community quarantine affected the transacting public wanting to visit government offices and the fact that pregnant women are considered high-risk individuals during this pandemic, pregnant and even lactating mothers who are SSS members chose to stay at home and postponed their appointments. Hence, we expect a higher number of benefit applications this year,” Ignacio said.
SSS branches also implemented social distancing measures and other safety protocols, thus limiting the number of transactions received and processed last year at the height of the pandemic.
“The maternity benefit provided by SSS has a 10-year prescriptive period. Prior to the submission of their claims, it is an important requirement for our employed female members to notify their employer. For self-employed, voluntary, and overseas Filipino worker (OFW) members, they should have at least personally notified SSS about their pregnancy,” Ignacio said.
Employers may submit the maternity notification of their employees through their My.SSS account. Self-employed, voluntary and OFW members may submit their maternity notifications via the My.SSS facility in the SSS website or through the SSS Mobile App.