To keep its branch network in step with its increasing membership, the Social Security System (SSS) opened a total of 21 local offices in 2013, most of them stationed in areas with high foot traffic and easy accessibility such as shopping malls.
SSS branches that opened last year include SSS Congressional in Quezon City, SSS Guadalupe in Makati City, and SSS Panabo in Davao del Norte. Alongside its branch expansion was the launch of SSS Service Offices last year at the Muntinlupa City Hall and in 17 shopping malls nationwide.
This year, SSS plans to expand further its network by setting up 24 additional branches, including new ones in major cities and business districts with a high demand for SSS transactions such as Alabang, Eastwood, Marikina, Mandaluyong, Navotas, Parañaque, Pasig, Taguig, Sta. Rosa, Cebu, Bacolod, Iloilo, Davao and Cagayan de Oro.
“The SSS also aims to launch Service Offices in ten malls nationwide this year, and three of these – at Robinsons Place Malabon, Robinsons Place Malolos, and Robinsons Place Roxas-Capiz — already started operations within the first two months of 2014,” said Gloria Cuisia, Head of the SSS Branch Evaluation Services Department.
SSS Service Offices are built in partnership with mall operators or local government units, which usually offer the office space to SSS rent-free, as part of shared efforts to make transactions convenient and accessible for their customers and constituents who are also SSS members. The mall-based offices are open on Tuesdays to Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., while those in goverment offices are open on Mondays to Fridays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“We will continue this expansion of our network of Service Offices, as it is still a faster means of increasing SSS presence as compared with building or renovating our own branch sites, which need to go through public bidding,” Cuisia added. “Apart from making SSS more accessible, the creation of new SSS branches and Service Offices also help decongest the volume of members and transactions in our existing offices.”
To date, the state-run institution has a total of 135 branches, 63 Service Offices and 33 Representative Offices under its network of local offices. SSS Representative Offices accept SSS applications and forward these to their respective mother branch.
The SSS also announced the extended Saturday schedule of 21 branches nationwide until June 2014. The 21 branches were chosen based on the high transaction levels recorded within the duration of the six-day work week implemented by all SSS branches starting October 26, 2013.
The branches that will remain open on Saturdays until June 28, 2014 are SSS Diliman, Cubao, San Francisco del Monte, Mandaluyong, Pasig Shaw, Binondo, Manila, Makati-Gil Puyat, Makati-Ayala and Alabang in the National Capital Region; Baguio, Dagupan, Bacoor and Biñan in Luzon; Cebu, Lapu-lapu, Bacolod and Iloilo in Visayas; and Cagayan de Oro, Davao and Zamboanga in Mindanao.
The number of SSS members grew by more than 1.2 million last year for a four-percent jump from 29.46 million members in 2012 — bringing total membership past the 30-million mark — due to SSS’ widespread efforts to promote the value of social security protection and active SSS membership.
Meanwhile, the number of registered employers surged by 51 percent in 2013 for a year-end total of 911,894, with the increase mostly coming from branch accounts – those with less than 100 workers – as well as newly-registered household employers complying with the Kasambahay Law enacted in 2013.