More than 35,000 Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) registered with the Social Security System (SSS) received a total of P16.4 million as income on their savings under the SSS Flexi-Fund Program.
SSS Senior Vice President and International Operations Division Head Judy Frances A. See said Flexi-Fund accounts in 2013 earned P7.24 million in annual incentive benefits (AIBs) on top of the P9.16 million credited as guaranteed earnings, thus bringing the Fund’s effective rate of return to 4.2 percent for the year.
The total AIB, which amounted to 79 percent of total guaranteed earnings, was distributed to the accounts of qualified members on July 31, 2014.
“The Flexi-Fund program remains to be a profitable investment instrument available for OFWs wanting to increase their private savings and retirement income,” See said. “Aside from enjoying the benefits of a risk-free investment, they may also get an additional income at the end of the year.”
Flexi-Fund savings are invested in fixed-income government securities and earn interest based on the average rates of SSS’ short-term placements or 91-day treasury bills, whichever is higher.
“In 2012, the SSS revised the program’s policies to help OFW members earn more from their Flexi-Fund savings. Prior to that, there were no AIBs and the 91-day treasury bill rate was the sole basis for determining Flexi-Fund’s guaranteed earnings,” See said.
The official explained that AIBs may be declared depending on the Flexi-Fund’s actual year-end income. Individual Flexi-Fund accounts of qualified active OFW members (or those with no full withdrawals and benefit claims within the applicable year) will be automatically credited with AIBs based on the member’s share to total Flexi-Fund equity.
As of 2013, members’ equity stood at P391.86 million with the maximum AIB amount of P57,098 credited to a member’s account.
“We encourage our OFW Flexi-Fund members to keep their savings intact to maximize the returns on their investments. They will get higher earnings in interest and AIB amount if they save more,” See said.
Launched in 2001, the Flexi-Fund program is a voluntary provident fund and pension-plan scheme offered exclusively to OFW members. It allows OFW members to build up additional funds, which they may use upon retirement or to supplement their benefits under the regular SSS program.
OFW members paying the maximum contribution amount, which is currently P1,760, are qualified to join the program. Any amount, not less than P200, paid in excess of the required P1,760 is automatically credited as Flexi-Fund savings.