Monday, June 18, 2012

How Does Social Security System Come to Life for Filipinos

Republic Act 8282 is all about the SSS mandate and the declaration of policy that says “It is the policy of the State to establish, develop, promote and perfect a sound and viable tax-exempt social security system suitable to the needs of the people throughout the Philippines which shall promote social justice and provide meaningful protection to members and their families against the hazards of disability, sickness, maternity, old-age, death and other contingencies resulting in loss of income or financial burden. Towards this end, the State shall endeavor to extend social security protection to workers and their beneficiaries.”

The concept of social security evolved from an age-old search of man for protection against poverty which breeds grave social ills that not only threaten his survival but also erode his sense of human dignity. It, therefore, becomes the duty of the State to operate a mechanism that would provide such protection to its people.
On January 26, 1948, former President Manuel A. Roxas proposed a bill seeking to establish asocial security system for wage earners and low-salaried employees. This was recommended to Congress in his State of the Nation Address. After the death of President Roxas, former President Elpidio Quirino created the Social Security Study Commission on July 7, 1948. The creation of the commission was his first official act upon his assumption to office. Based on the report of the Study Commission, a draft of the Social Security Act was submitted to Congress.
In 1954, Representative Floro Crisologo, Senators Cipriano Primicias and Manuel Briones introduced bills based on the report of the Social Security Study Commission in the House of Representatives and in the Senate. These bills were consolidated and enacted into Republic Act (RA) 1161, better known as the Social Security Act of 1954.
The SSS aims to develop and promote a Viable, Universal and Equitable social securityprotection scheme through World-class service and to institutionalize a corporate culture that instills the core values of Trust, Empowerment and Teamwork.
  • Viable – means that social security protection shall be provided through generations.
  • Universal – means that social security protection shall be provided to all residents of the Philippines, citizens and non-citizens alike, regardless of creed, gender, age, geographic location and economic status, especially the disadvantaged, so that no one will become a burden to society.
  • Equitable – means fair and uniform coverage shall be made available to all. Benefits shall be meaningful and able to sustain a decent standard of living.
  • World-class Service – means the highest standard of social security service shall be provided to ensure total member satisfaction such as prompt, accurate and courteous.
However, the Social Security Act was objected by business and labor groups, resulting to a deferment of its implementation. In 1957, amendatory bills were presented in Congress. These bills were the bases of RA 1792, which amended the original Social Security Act. On September 1, 1957, the Social Security Act of 1954 or the Social Security Law (SS Law) was finally implemented, marking a significant milestone in the social security program.

With the implementation of the SS Law, the Philippine government also adopted the social insurance approach to social security, covering the employed segment of the labor force in the private sector.

In 1993, household helpers earning at least 1,000ph a month were included in the compulsory coverage of employees. In 1980, some groups of self-employed persons were also required to contribute to the social security fund from which benefits are paid upon the occurrence of a contingency provided by the law. Self-employed farmers and fisher-folks were included in the program in 1992 while workers in the informal sector earning at least 1,000ph a month, such as ambulant vendors and watch-your-car-boys were covered in 1995.
The Social Security System (SSS) administers social security protection to workers in the private sector. On the other hand, the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) takes care of workers in the public sector. The SSS administers two programs, namely: 
  • The Social Security Program
  • The Employee’s Compensation (EC) Program

  • Social security provides replacement income for workers in times of death, disability, sickness, maternity and old-age. On May 1, 1997, former President Fidel V. Ramos signed Republic Act 8282, further strengthening the SSS. Also known as the Social Security Act of 1997, it amended RA 1161, providing for better benefit packages, expansion of coverage, flexibility in investments, stiffer penalties for violators of the law, con-donation of penalties of delinquent employers and the establishment of a voluntary provident fund for members.

The employee’s compensation program, started in 1975, provides double compensation to the worker when the illness, death or accident occur during work-related activities. EC benefits are granted only to members with employers other than themselves.
Social Security System used to administer the Medicare program for hospitalization and other medical needs of the private sector workers; and the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), for the public sectors workers. However, with the passage of RA 7875 or the National Health Insurance Act of 1995, SSS and GSIS transferred the administration of the Medicare program to the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) for an integrated and comprehensive approach to health development.
Source: SSS Corporate Communication & Media Affairs Department, SSS Bldg., East Ave., Quezon City
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