Tagbilaran, Bohol — The Social Security System (SSS) reported a 3.9-percent increase in membership in Central Visayas with almost 2.4 million members as of November 2014 from 2.3 million in 2013.

SSS attributed the growth to the number of new self-employed and voluntary members that nearly doubled its size from 8,123 in January to November in 2013 to 14,139 in the same period in 2014. Many of the self-employed members are recorded in the areas of Tagbilaran, Ormoc, and Tacloban.

“We are happy to report that our efforts to cover workers in every sector present in those areas are showing positive results. Other than the self-employed, we also recorded about 72,538 new members from the employed sector,” President and Chief Executive Officer Emilio S. De Quiros said.

Over the past three years, the SSS has been aggressive in its campaign to cover members of informal sector and workers’ groups and those in far-flung areas, De Quiros said. “Anyone without social security is vulnerable to life’s vicissitudes and efforts such as these must be made to help them secure their future from financial hardships.”

Since 2012, more than 7,412 workers from 78 informal sector groups and associations within the region were covered as self-employed members under the SSS AlkanSSSya program, a microsaving scheme that offers its members a convenient way to contribute to the SSS by dropping as low as P12 per day in individual coin slots in a secured metal cabinet.

Similarly, contributions collected from members in Central Visayas from January to November 2014 jumped by double-digit percentage, registering P7 billion or 14.4 percent higher than the same period in 2013.

The biggest amount that was collected came from the employed sector at P6.2 billion, followed by the self-employed and voluntary members at P780 million.

Meanwhile, the SSS has released P5.6 billion in payments for social security and employees’ compensation benefits of members in Central Visayas. Nearly 90 percent of the amount or P5 billion was paid for the regular pensions for retirement, death and disability

“Members in Central Visayas also received P11.2 million in lumpsum and initial payments for retirement, P115.9 million for death, P241.4 million in funeral grants, P19.8 million for disability, P120.5 million for maternity, and P26.6 million for sickness,” De Quiros said.

At present, the SSS has 11 branches and six service offices strategically located within the provinces of Cebu, Bohol, Samar and Leyte.??