The Social Security System (SSS) marked its first appearance in the Makati Business Club (MBC) Executive Outlook Survey with a positive performance rating from business leaders, netting the 15th place among 62 government agencies included in the survey.

The SSS tied with Pag-IBIG, which both received a net score of 55.3 from 65 senior business executives covered by the MBC’s survey for the second semester of 2014. More than half or 43 of the 62 national agencies and offices were considered to have performed well in the fourth year of the Aquino administration, the survey showed.

“The results are both humbling and motivating. We are happy that the efforts we have done so far to improve SSS operations and services left such a positive impression on most employers and key leaders in the business sector,” SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Emilio S. de Quiros, Jr said.

Expounding on the SSS’ performance in recent years, De Quiros said the agency saw a historical improvement in its financial operations in 2013, wherein for the first time, SSS total collection in contributions surpassed the century mark at P103 billion. Contribution collections continued to grow by P58.8 billion in the first six months of 2014, which has already exceeded half of the total amount collected in 2013.

“More than 87 percent of what we collected last year were from employees of 912,000 registered employers. These figures prove that employers and business owners play a vital role not only in ensuring the stability of the SSS fund but as well as in keeping workers under the mantle of SSS’ social security protection,” De Quiros said.

The top official said total assets stood at P423 billion as of June 2014 on the back of a solid financial performance due to investment growth.

Three more years were also added to the SSS fund life, which is currently projected to last until 2042, as a result of the increase in the contribution rate and maximum salary credit that was made effective in January 2014.

Benefits paid in the first semester of 2014 amounted to P50 billion, a 14% increase relative to the same period in 2013. De Quiros attributed this to improved processing of claims, particularly for death, disability and retirement.

“To be regarded as one of the top performing offices is definitely a pat on the back for all the hard work of everyone in the SSS and the continued support of our valued stakeholders. We also see it as a challenge to continue to strive harder to provide the services that we are committed to,” De Quiros said.

As of June 2014, the SSS has 257 branches including foreign and service offices, 21 of which had extended operations until Saturday to accommodate members who cannot transact on weekdays.

Information on the status of contributions, loans and benefit claims is accessible all round the clock through the My.SSS accounts of members and Text-SSS.

For convenience and enhanced security, employers are enjoined to remit payments to the SSS electronically via the SSSNet and have been required to submit electronic collection lists since July 2014.

Their reimbursements for advance payments of employees’ sickness and maternity benefits, which used to be paid in checks, are now credited to their own bank accounts through the SSS Sickness and Maternity Benefit Payment thru the Bank Program.

The SSS has also tied-up with various informal sector groups, microfinance institutions, cooperatives and local government units to ensure SSS coverage and timely remittance of SSS payments of members. As a result of these partnerships, more than 83,757 workers from 837 informal sector groups, including 4,844 Job Order and contractual workers of the DILG and DSWD, were covered as self-employed members under the SSS microsavings program, AlkanSSSya.

As of June 2014, SSS total membership is recorded at 31 million, comprised of 23 million employed members, 4.2 million self-employed, 3.2 million voluntary members and one million OFWs.