The Social Security System (SSS), the lead agency of a unified identification system for members of four state institutions, expects to bring its ID production schedule back to normal before the end of the year.

SSS Vice President for Member Services Mario Sibucao said members who will apply for the Unified Multi-purpose Identification System (UMID) card starting November 23, 2012 can expect their IDs to be ready for mailing within ten working days from the date of application.

“It is best for members to apply for UMID cards when ID production has normalized. Nevertheless, even without SSS IDs, members can continue to transact with SSS by just presenting two valid IDs with their picture and signature,” he added.

The pension fund serves as lead agency of the UMID, which streamlines and upgrades the identification systems of SSS, Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) and Home Development Mutual Fund.

The SSS issues UMID cards to its members comprising of private sector workers, GSIS to its members made up of public sector workers, and PhilHealth to those not covered by SSS and GSIS. UMID enrollments of these agencies must pass through the Central Verification System (CVS), which uses modern biometric technology to confirm a person’s identity to ensure that only one card will be issued to an individual.

The start of operations of the three UMID components — data capture, central verification and card production – depended on when the systems of participating agencies and technology providers had fully complied with UMID technical requirements, Sibucao explained.

“The UMID enables the four covered agencies to save costs, eliminate redundant identification systems and offer members a more secure and durable ID card that is tamper-proof, hard to fake and can last for up to 10 years,” he said.

SSS’ suspended its ID production in 2010 when its automated fingerprint matching system (AFIS) and card production facility broke down after a decade of use and affected members who applied for an ID from October 2009 onwards.

“Over 1.1 million cards were released by SSS since we jumpstarted UMID card production in July 2011,” he said.

Sibucao said this includes 700,000 UMID cards released during the second half of last year that were processed by the old SSS biometric matching system. About 400,000 UMID cards were released by SSS this year when the CVS began operations on February 24 this year. -Sigfredo Ibay, SSS Media