Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) will have easier means to benefit from the programs and services of the Social Security System (SSS) with the launching of the newly created OFW Contact Center Unit (OFW-CSU), starting October this year.
SSS Senior Vice President and International Operations Division Head Judy Frances A. See said the new unit will handle direct contact points for OFWs to allow for a more differentiated servicing and faster resolution of their SSS concerns.
For its initial operations, the OFW-CSU will provide dedicated e-mail support and local call services from 6:00 am to 10:00 pm on weekdays.
In addition, a special assistance desk will be available at the SSS main office in Diliman, Quezon City for walk-in transactions of OFWs, such as registration and issuance of SS numbers, enrollment in Flexi-fund Program, and verification of SSS records. It will also provide OFW members assistance in filing their loans, benefit claims and other SSS applications.
“We understand the unique circumstances of our Kababayan abroad, and so we continue to find ways to make the SSS more accessible to them. The creation of a specialized contact unit for OFWs will enable us to identify their distinct needs and address them accordingly. It will also help us manage the level of transactions with other member service facilities more effectively,” See explained.
OFWs and their families in the Philippines can reach the OFW-CSU by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or through their service hotlines, (02) 364-7796 and (02) 374-7798.
See added that additional channels and service facilities have been lined up for implementation to fully complement the unit’s operations.
“We will open international toll-free numbers so OFWs across the globe can call us without having charges on their end. OFW-CSU’s operating hours will also be extended to 24/7 once the required systems are in place,” See said.
Other services that will be rolled out soon include online contact points that utilize VoIP and instant messaging platforms.
“This is still part of our campaign to reach out to Filipino workers here and abroad and ensure their continuing coverage under the SSS. We want not only to increase SSS membership of OFWs but also to ensure active membership. Considering the voluntary nature of their coverage, we can only achieve both by giving them a consistent good experience with our services,” See said.
The SSS reported a total of 983,262 OFW members as of June 2014. Based on the 2013 POEA Compendium of OFW Statistics, more than 1.8-million OFWs were deployed in 2013, of which 464,888 were new hires.