The Social Security System (SSS) has extended its partnership with the International Labour Organization (ILO) for the subsidized contributions of emergency workers in typhoon-stricken areas, with the number of target beneficiaries nearly tripling from 6,000 in the initial phase to 17,000 in the second phase.

SSS Senior Vice President for Accounts Management Judy Frances A. See said the SSS-ILO beneficiaries are workers from areas devastated by typhoons Yolanda (Haiyan) and Ruby (Hagupit), such as Tacloban, Bohol, Ormoc, Negros Occidental, Northern Cebu, Northern and Eastern Samar, and Coron.

“Given the opportunity to either activate their SSS membership and earn increments on contributions or become first time members, the program has afforded the covered workers and their beneficiaries access to lifetime protection and entitlements to social security benefits such as sickness, maternity, disability, retirement and death,” See said.

In its partnership with SSS, the ILO committed to shoulder three months’ worth of SSS contributions for the beneficiaries, who are covered as self-employed SSS members. The contributions are based on the P3,000 monthly salary credit.

“The ILO subsidy for SSS contributions amounts to P330 per month or a total of P990 per beneficiary. The emergency workers are given an option for rehiring, which in effect entitles them to subsidized SSS contributions for another three months,” See explained.

The SSS completed the program’s initial implementation in December 2014, following the complete allocation of the P6.2-million ILO grant for the subsidized SSS contributions and administrative expenses.

See noted that 5,765 workers had participated during the initial phase of the program, including 270 re-hires, for a total of 6,035 beneficiaries. The SSS aims to reach out to 17,000 additional beneficiaries during the second phase of implementation as part of the renewed agreement with ILO.

The emergency workers, who are hired under the ILO’s cash-for-work program, assist in rehabilitating their communities through activities such as clearing debris, declogging drainages, sweeping streets and repairing damaged facilities.

“Attendance to skills development training sessions and seminars provided by partner agencies such as TESDA (Technical Education and Skills Development Authority) likewise earn for the workers subsidies for their SSS contributions. Such training aims to enable the workers to be self-sufficient for them to have a regular source of income so that they will be able to sustain paying their SSS contributions even when the ILO subsidy stops, “ See added.