SSS improves system of employer reimbursement for sickness, maternity

As part of Social Security System’s (SSS) campaign to enhance its service delivery, employers all over the country can now receive their reimbursements for advance payments of employees’ sickness and maternity benefits directly at their own bank account, instead of waiting for SSS checks from the mail.

Agnes San Jose, SSS Vice President for Benefits Administration, said the SSS Sickness and Maternity Benefit Payment thru the Bank (SMB PB) Program provides employers a safer, faster and more convenient means of reimbursement than its previous system of sending checks thru registered mail, which may take up to a month depending on their mailing address.

“Companies, as well as household employers, will benefit from the SMB PB Program since it addresses concerns regarding lost, misdelivered or stale reimbursement checks that can take several months to replace. It also eliminates the waiting period for mailing and check clearing,” San Jose said.

Since January 2014, all employers nationwide are required to enroll in the SMB PB Program, following positive feedback from over 1,000 employers in the National Capital Region that voluntarily participated in the program in the past several years. Per SSS procedure, employers pay the sickness and maternity benefits of workers in advance, then apply for a corresponding reimbursement from SSS.

In the past, employers either wait for their reimbursement check to be mailed via the Philippine Postal Corporation, or send an authorized representative to claim it from the SSS. Now, the funds will be credited to their designated bank account. The employer’s existing savings or current account in an SSS-accredited bank may be enrolled in the program.

To enroll, employers may secure a copy of the SMB PB form from any SSS branch, SSS-accredited banks or the SSS Website (www.sss.gov.ph), and then submit the accomplished form in two copies to their designated bank. Upon receiving the SMB PB form, the bank will certify the correctness of the employer’s bank account information and submit the application to the SSS.

If approved, the SSS will send the duplicate copy of the SMB PB form back to the bank, which will then forward it to the employer. Employers can also check the status of their SMB PB enrollment using their SSS Website account. The list of accredited banks is also found at the SSS Website.

“Employers with several branches or subsidiaries with different SSS Employer ID Numbers may designate a single bank account for their sickness and maternity reimbursement from the SSS,” San Jose said.

The SSS disbursed a total of P4.03 billion for maternity benefits of over 211,000 members from January to November 2013. Payments for sickness benefits over same 11-month period amounted to P1.65 billion for some 340,000 members.

Of the P1.65-billion total disbursement for sickness claims, payments under the Social Security Program accounted for P1.57 billion, while the rest was paid under the Employees’ Compensation Program, which provides additional benefits to SSS employee-members with work-related contingencies.

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