The Social Security System (SSS) disclosed on Thursday that it released a total of P11.80 billion through the 309,189 maternity benefit claims it received from January to November 2022.
SSS President and CEO Michael G. Regino mentioned that maternity benefit claims have accounted for around 5% of the SSS’ total benefit disbursements of P236.27 billion for said period. This is the third highest amount of disbursement among the seven benefit programs and the highest among short-term benefits.
“We recognize the important role of women in our society, and it is an honor to be able to assist more of our female members through the Maternity Benefit Program,” Regino said. “We hope that with the implementation of Republic Act Nos. 11199 and 11210 last 2019, they will feel more supported by getting enough time and financial assistance as they care of their children, while they start to regain their health and overall wellness before resuming paid work.”
The provisions of the Republic Act No. 11199 or the Social Security Act of 2018 included the increase in the maximum monthly salary credit (MSC) considered in the computation of benefits under the regular SSS program from P16,000 to P20,000, and an increase in the minimum MSC for the computation of benefits every other year from 2019 to 2025, among others.
In addition, Republic Act No. 11210 or the 105-day Expanded Maternity Leave Law (EMLL), extended the number of compensable days of maternity leave from 60 days for normal delivery and 78 days for caesarian section delivery to 105 days for live childbirth, regardless of the type of delivery – with an additional 15 days if the female worker qualifies as a solo parent. The law also extended the maternity benefit to every instance of pregnancy, miscarriage, or emergency termination of pregnancy, regardless of frequency, from the previous limit of only the first four deliveries or miscarriages. Contingencies covered by the EMLL are those from March 11, 2019 onwards.
As a result of said enhancements, the SSS has recorded higher maternity benefit disbursements in the succeeding years. Currently, the maximum maternity benefit a qualified female member may receive is P70,000 (or P80,000 for solo parents). Prior to said laws, the maximum was P32,000 for normal deliveries and P41,600 for caesarian section deliveries.
Moreover, from January to November 2022, the SSS has disbursed a monthly average of P1.07 billion maternity benefits, with 28,108 claims processed, which is 82.1% higher than its corresponding monthly average in 2018 of P588.84 million with 27,193 claims.
“While we look forward to providing a more meaningful social security protection for our members, especially during their maternity leaves and other contingencies that result in loss of income, it is also part of our duty to ensure the sustainability of our funds,” Regino explained.
The scheduled increases in the contribution rate as well as the adjustments in the minimum and maximum MSCs every other year from 2019 to 2025, as specified under RA No. 11199, form part of the measures to strengthen the SSS fund.
In January 2023, the SSS will increase its contribution rate by 1%, making it 14% from the previous 13%. The employer’s share of the contribution will then go up to 9.5%, while the employee’s share will remain at 4.5%. Self-employed, voluntary, and land-based Overseas Filipino Worker members, on the other hand, will shoulder the 1% increase. The minimum and maximum MSCs will also increase from P3,000 to P4,000 and P25,000 to P30,000, respectively.