State-run Social Security System (SSS) is pushing for wider coverage of Filipinos abroad with 20 Offices now in Asia, Middle East and Europe, three of which were recently opened in Toronto, Tokyo and Muscat.

Located in Philippine Embassies or Consulates, the SSS Offices abroad accepts applications for membership, benefits and loans; performs data capture for Unified Multi-purpose ID.

SSS offices in Asia are located in Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, Taipei, Brunei, Kuala Lumpur.

SSS in the Middle East is extensive given its offices in Riyadh, Jeddah and Al Khobar in Saudi Arabia; Abu Dhabi and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates; and in Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain.

SSS offices in Europe are in London and in Rome and Milan in Italy.

“We will continue to expand our foreign operations to provide our members abroad with immediate access to social security. Next year, we will be deploying additional personnel in our offices overseas to assist our members,” said SSS Senior Vice President and International Operations Division Head Judy Frances A. See adding that SSS will continue to conduct outreach activities for the Filipino communities abroad.

The monthly contribution to SSS is based on the monthly earnings declared at the time of registration. OFW members pay the full 11% of the Monthly Salary Credit (MSC), the minimum of which is pegged at P5,000 or monthly contribution of P550. Contributions can be paid through accredited collection partners abroad.

OFWs are advised to remit contributions based on the maximum MSC of P16,000 since SSS benefits are computed based on the number of contributions paid and the member’s MSC.

In a related news, the Philippines has bilateral agreements on social security with Austria, Canada and Quebec, France, United Kingdom, Belgium, Switzerland and Spain. Agreements with Denmark, Portugal and Germany have been signed and are awaiting completion of the ratification process. The agreements ensure payment of social security benefits to migrant workers through “totalization” and export of benefits.

With totalization, Filipinos who have divided their career time between the Philippines and these countries will be able to combine their coverage periods in both countries to meet eligibility requirements for social security pension in either or both countries.

In addition, a worker will continue to receive his benefits wherever he decides to reside in the Philippines or in any of these countries where the social security agreement is in effect.

Bilateral discussions with Japan, Korea, Israel, Sweden and Luxembourg are currently being pursued.