The Social Security System released a total of P102.8 billion in social security and employees’ compensation (EC) benefits to its members from January to December last year which is 12.5 percent higher than the same period in 2013.

SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Emilio S. De Quiros Jr. said the increase in benefit disbursement is due to the growing number of members who depend on SSS in times of contingencies and intensifying marketing efforts to various sectors.

“More than half of the benefit payouts in 2014 were on retirement claims amounting to 56.1 billion or 54.6% of the total disbursements,” said de Quiros.

The next biggest benefit payment of SSS last year was on death benefit with 33.7 billion or 32.8% of the total payouts. Death benefit is either lump sum payment or transfer of monthly pension to the legal dependent spouse and minor children.

The SSS also paid P2.9 billion in funeral grants, P1.9 billion for sickness, P4.4 billion for maternity and P3.8 billion for disability. The sickness and disability payouts include EC payments.

Aside from the regular benefit payments under the social security program, SSS also released P17.4 billion in EC medical services and rehabilitation which are reimbursements for expenses incurred by members for work-related illnesses and injuries.

“EC medical reimbursements are expenses for hospitalization, recuperation and medicines while rehabilitation expenses are payments to services provided to member-employees until they have fully recovered from their work-related injuries,” said de Quiros.

To make its services more accessible to its members, 25 new branches and 13 service offices usually located in malls, were added to the SSS service delivery network as of yearend 2014. As of December 2014, SSS has 262 offices across the Philippines located in NCR (60); Luzon (118); Visayas (41), and Mindanao (43).

This year, SSS will open five new branches and five service offices while also enhancing electronic and self-service transactions for greater convenience of its 32.1 million members.

Alongside improving the delivery of services, SSS continues to intensify coverage and collection in both informal and special sectors while strengthening campaign against erring employers to ensure that member contributions are remitted.

“We are continuously doing major improvements and enhancements with our services and processes to provide more meaningful benefits to our members. We want our members to value SSS which they could always count on to cope with contingencies,” said de Quiros.