The Social Security System (SSS) saw its financial performance continue to strengthen, posting net earnings of P25.5 billion in 2011 as a result of intensified collection efforts, prudent management of operation expenses, and robust investment income. SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Emilio de Quiros, Jr. emphasized that service delivery to members likewise improved, thanks to enhancements in information technology systems.

“The bottomline is that 2011 was another landmark year for the SSS in terms of financial performance and service delivery,” de Quiros said. “Year-end net revenue of P25.5 billion is 12 percent higher than the P22.8 billion net income in 2010. Our moves towards more electronic and Internet-based transactions also resulted in more efficiency and better service to our members,” he added.

Contribution collections of SSS in 2011 came close to P86 billion, an increase of 8.4 percent from the P77 billion worth of contributions collected in 2010. This came about through intensive marketing efforts made by SSS and from expanding the range of its payment deadlines for contribution and loan remittances. The SSS collected P17.5 billion from the employed sector, which posted the highest number of collections, while contributions from household helpers, the self-employed and overseas workers saw the biggest volume growth from 2010.

During the second half of 2011, the SSS undertook an “OFW Information Caravan” to widen its coverage in the Middle East and Europe where many Filipino contract workers are based. Negotiations were also held for the conclusion of bilateral social security agreements with Denmark and Japan.

Meanwhile, SSS benefits payments in 2011 totaled P76 billion, an increase of 6.8 percent from the 2010 benefit payouts of P71 billion. The majority of these payments were for retirement and death benefit claims.

“It is worth noting that contribution collections outpaced benefit payments by P3.2 billion – the highest recorded since 2002. This is in step with our objectives of continually building up the Investment Reserve Fund and lengthening the actuarial life of the Social Security fund,” de Quiros said.

Despite a low-interest rate environment, SSS investment income in 2011 still managed to hit close to P30 billion, a 7.2 percent increase from the P28 billion it earned from investments in 2010. Part of its investment income came from the penalty condonation program the SSS offered to its employer-members for unremitted loan amortizations of their employees. The six-month condonation program, which ended in June 2011, resulted in the collection of about P1.08 billion worth of delinquency payments from 13,776 employers.

The SSS likewise showed significant improvements in its service delivery due to upgrades in its information technology infrastructure and by enabling electronic or Internet-based transactions. An example of this is the Automated Records Management System, which digitizes documents to enable faster and more efficient processing and accessibility. Also implemented were the enhanced Text-SSS facility, the mandatory electronic submission of collection lists by employers, and the direct crediting of sickness and maternity reimbursements to employers’ bank accounts instead of mailed checks.

Meanwhile, the enhanced SSS website (www.sss.gov.ph) provides members with greater convenience in transacting with the SSS, such as submitting salary loan applications and maternity notifications online, viewing and printing their records and forms, and setting appointments with their servicing branches.

“As of year-end 2011, the SSS website had a total of 1.4 million registered users, of which 410,000 are employees and over 6,900 are employers. The rest are voluntary and self-employed members, household helpers, OFWs, and pensioners,” de Quiros said.

The SSS kickstarted the production and issuance of the Unified Multi-Purpose ID (UMID) Cards in July 2011, after the suspension of SSS biometric ID card production due to equipment breakdown. By year-end 2011, the SSS was able to wipe out the 700,000 backlog of pending ID applications from 2008 to 2010. De Quiros said, the SSS is now working on the 2011 backlog of 800,000 IDs and it is looking forward to normalizing production by November 2012.

Finally, 2011 marked another year for SSS to plead its case before stakeholders for much-needed reforms to extend the life of the Social Security Fund to perpetuity. It conducted several consultative meetings with its stakeholders throughout 2011, in which de Quiros and key officials explained plans to, among others, increase the 10.4 percent contribution rate to 11 percent and the P 15,000 maximum monthly salary credit to P 20,000. Doing so would add seven years to the SSS fund life and enable it to provide higher benefit amounts.

“The SSS was able to achieve all these performance milestones without incurring large operating expenses. In fact, our 2011 OpEx totaled P7.5 billion, which was only 67 percent of our Charter limit and the lowest incurred in the past ten years,” de Quiros noted. “The SSS remains steadfast in delivering efficient service and timely benefits to our members, while ensuring that their contributions are secured and prudently invested for their future needs.”