More than 27,000 workers from Metro Manila and parts of Luzon will benefit from wider access to Social Security System (SSS) services following the pension fund’s accreditation of a non-government organization (NGO) assisting the urban poor and a cooperative for vegetable vendors as partner agents.

The SSS signed a servicing partner agent (SPA) agreement with Kasagana-Ka Development Center, Inc. (Kasagana-Ka) to reach out to the NGO’s over 24,000 member-beneficiaries, as well as SPA and collecting partner agent (CPA) agreements with the Baguio Vegetable Retailers Savings and Credit Cooperative (BAVESCO) which to date has more than 3,700 members, within the first half of 2014.

“SPAs can accept SSS membership, loan and funeral benefit applications to help their members file these without going to an SSS office. Meanwhile, CPAs can collect and remit contributions and loan payments of their own members, making active SSS membership easier and more convenient for these workers,” said Judy Frances See, SSS Senior Vice President for Account Management.

The new partnerships with organizations are part of SSS initiatives to provide social protection to millions of workers, especially those from marginalized sectors, and address concerns such as limited access to SSS offices and members’ lack of time and resources to handle SSS transactions on their own.

Kasagana-Ka is a social development NGO that has assisted over 20,000 families, mostly from the urban poor sector. While headquartered in Quezon City, it also has field offices in Metro Manila and neighboring provinces such as Bulacan, Laguna and Cavite. BAVESCO, a duly registered cooperative operating in Baguio and Benguet, provides affordable loans, goods and other services to its vendor-members. It implements an efficient collection system for membership dues and loan amortizations, which the cooperative will also use for the SSS payments of its members.

“SPAs and CPAs are paid a processing fee for every successful SSS transaction, enabling them to earn additional income, and at the same time, advance the welfare of their members by serving as channels for their active SSS membership. These factors further spark the interest of organizations into partnering with SSS,” See noted.

At present, 14 organizations across the country, including Kasagana-Ka and BAVESCO, are now authorized as CPAs, SPAs, or both. Two multi-purpose cooperatives, which have a combined reach of over 17,000 workers in Luzon and Visayas, are awaiting accreditation as both SPA and CPA, she added.

Simbag sa Pag-asenso Inc. (SEDP), a diocese-run organization that caters to socio-economic needs of over 35,000 workers from marginalized households and home-based industries in Southern Bicol and Nothern Samar, has also applied for additional accreditation as CPA. SEDP, an SPA since February 2013, is among SSS’ first partner agents.

Interested organizations can visit the nearest SSS branch, contact the SSS Call Center at 9206446 to 55 or send an email to member_relations@sss.gov.ph for information on how to apply for CPA and SPA accreditation and other SSS queries.