The state-run Social Security System (SSS) granted over 180,000 maternity benefit claims in the first six months of 2019, a 15 percent increase as compared to the same period last year.
SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Aurora C. Ignacio said that the pension fund expects that this number will continue to grow through the year. "This year we are expecting around 360,000 maternity benefit claims. This is 10 percent higher than the actual claims recorded the previous year," Ignacio said.
The SSS' maternity benefit disbursements also increased by 23 percent from P3.37 billion in the first semester of 2018 to P4.13 billion in the first half of the year. The increase can be attributed to the growth in the number of beneficiaries as well as the implementation of Republic Acts No. 11199 and 11210 or the Social Security Act of 2018 and the 105-day Expanded Maternity Leave Law (EMLL), respectively.
Under the SS Act of 2018, the SSS contribution rate and monthly salary credit were increased starting in April 2019, thereby also raising the amount of benefit that a member may receive.
On the other hand, the EMLL pushed the compensable period for maternity benefit from 60 or 78 days to 105 days covering child delivery, miscarriage, and emergency termination of pregnancy starting March 11, 2019.
Pursuant to the EMLL, qualified members may receive from SSS a cash benefit equivalent to 100 percent of their average daily salary credit multiplied by 105 days for live childbirth, regardless of the mode of delivery. An additional 15 days of paid leave is given to a solo parent under the applicable provisions of Republic Act No. 8972 or Solo Parents Welfare Act of 2000.
For miscarriage and emergency termination of pregnancy, the member will receive an amount equivalent to 100 percent of her average daily salary credit multiplied by 60 days.
Female members with expected delivery date on January 2020 onwards, may receive a maximum maternity benefit of P70,000, given that they are paying their contributions under the new maximum monthly salary credit of P20,000.
"The SSS is glad to assist its female members and their families during pregnancy. This benefit will provide them with the financial means to support themselves and their newborn babies before returning to work. We hope that through these enhancements, they will be able to regain their health and overall wellness," Ignacio said.
To qualify for the maternity benefit, a female member must have paid at least three monthly contributions within the 12-month period before the semester of childbirth or miscarriage. She must have notified her employer about her pregnancy and the probable date of her childbirth if she is employed, or to the SSS if she is self-employed (SE), voluntary member (VM), overseas Filipino workers (OFW), non-working spouse (NWS) or member separated from employment.
"We advise our members to religiously pay their monthly contributions to qualify for the short-term benefits, such as maternity, sickness, and disability. Their payments, using Payment Reference Number, are posted immediately in our system to avoid any delay in claiming their benefits," she said.
Members may conveniently notify SSS through our e-channels, such as My.SSS at the SSS website, via SSS Mobile App which is downloadable for free on Google Play Store and the Apple Store, and through our Self-Service Information Terminal which can be found in selected SSS branches.
Through these e-channels, members may also conveniently check their records, the status of their benefits including the maternity benefit, and the documentary requirements for its programs, and other services.
"We encourage our members to download the SSS Mobile App, especially our pregnant members. We recognize the hassle to go to our branches. Through this app, they may submit and check their maternity notifications conveniently," Ignacio said.