MANILA - About 196,000 members of the Social Security System have received a total of P2.62 billion in unemployment benefits, most of which were released during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Finance Department said Tuesday.
Ninety percent or P2.35 billion of the cash grant under the SSS Unemployment Insurance Benefit (UIB) were released from March 2020 to June 2021, the DOF said in a statement.
Many workers lost their jobs after smalls firms temporarily or permanently closed due to the restrictions imposed to curb the spared of COVID-19.
“Implemented effective March 2019, the UIB program is among the key institutional responses of the SSS to the COVID-19 pandemic for its affected members since March 2020. From March 2020 until June 2021, the SSS has paid out P2,354.33 million in UIB, and this has benefitted 173,791 members,” said Dominguez in a letter addressed to Senate President Vicente Sotto III.
The data was released in response to the Senate Committee on Finance's Vice Chairperson Senator Grace Poe's inquiry on the provision of financial assistance to the unemployed during the pandemic last Sept. 9, the DOF said.
Finance Committee Chairman Senator Sonny Angara and Senator Poe were both given a copy of the letter, it added.
During the pandemic, SSS made it easier for members to apply for unemployment claims through the My.SSS portal.
The state-run pension fund had also started using electronic payment systems in releasing claims as part of its digitalization efforts.