How to Apply for SSS Unemployment Benefit: An Ultimate Guide

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Nothing is as terrifying as losing your job without any warning, more so if you’re the family’s breadwinner.

Sadly, this is the reality for most Filipinos who rely on employment as their only source of income.

But thanks to the SSS unemployment benefit, one of the key provisions of the Republic Act 11199 (also known as the Social Security Act of 2018), Filipino employees who just got laid off can have a temporary source of income to keep things afloat while they’re looking for a new job.

In this guide, you’ll learn how to apply or file an SSS unemployment benefits claim so you won’t lose your mind after losing your job. After all, unemployment is not the end of the world!

Go back to the main article: SSS Contribution Table (with Detailed Computations and Explanations)

 

What is the SSS unemployment benefit?

For starters, here are the basic things you should know about the SSS unemployment benefit:

  • Also known as unemployment insurance or involuntary separation benefit, it’s a form of cash benefit given to support Filipino employees, including the kasambahays and Overseas Filipino Workers (both sea-based and land-based), who are unexpectedly displaced from their jobs.
  • It’s a benefit, NOT a loan that SSS members have to pay. In fact, it’s the 7th and newest benefit being offered by the Social Security System (SSS) which provides social security protection for all Filipino workers. The other SSS benefits you can also avail of are maternity, sickness, disability, retirement, funeral, and death.
  • It’s one of the landmark provisions of the Republic Act No. 11199 or the Social Security Act of 2018. This unemployment benefits program is now being carried out through Rule 27 of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of RA 11199. In fact, as a result of the adverse economic impact of coronavirus (COVID-19), SSS announced that it’s willing to approve up to Php 1.2 billion of unemployment benefits for as many as 60,000 premium-paying members who might lose or already lost their jobs because of the pandemic.
  • SSS is capable of financing unemployment benefits, thanks to the increased SSS contribution. The Social Security Act of 2018 (RA 11199), the same law that has finally made unemployment benefits a reality, is also the law that led to SSS contribution hike (11% to 12% in 2019; 13% in 2021; 14% in 2023; and 15% in 2025), two-thirds and one-third of which will be shouldered by the employer and the employee, respectively.

Related: How to Apply for Pag-IBIG Calamity Loan

 

When did the SSS unemployment benefit become effective?

According to the SSS Circular No. 2019-011, the guidelines for the unemployment benefits shall be applied to involuntary separations that occur on or after March 5, 2019.

In other words, Filipino employees who have lost their jobs on March 5, 2019, onwards are covered by the SSS unemployment insurance, provided that they meet the qualification requirements that will be discussed later on.

 

How much unemployment benefits/insurance will be given to qualified SSS members?

Employees who are qualified to get the unemployment benefits will be granted an amount equivalent to twice the 1/2 of their average monthly salary credit (AMSC).

Alternatively, you can use the following formula:

Unemployment Benefit = Average Monthly Salary Credit (AMSC) x 50% x 2 months

As you may recall, SSS uses the monthly salary credit (MSC) to determine the amount of contribution that will be deducted from the employee’s salary.

Basically, the MSC is the median of the range of compensation, with the minimum and maximum MSC currently set at 2,000 and 20,000, respectively.

Let’s say you have a monthly salary of Php 10,000. As you can see in this SSS contribution table, that salary falls in the 9,750 – 10,249.99 range so your monthly salary credit (MSC) is Php 10,000.

Take note that monthly salary credit (MSC) is different from the average monthly salary credit (AMSC). 

According to the guideline written in the Social Security Act of 2018, your average monthly salary credit (AMSC) shall be the higher of the following:

  • The result obtained by dividing the sum of the last sixty (60) monthly salary credits immediately preceding the semester of contingency by sixty (60); or
  • The result obtained by dividing the sum of all the monthly salary credits paid prior to the semester of contingency by the number of monthly contributions paid in the same period.

Related: How to View and Check Your SSS Contribution: 5 Easy Ways

Assuming that your salary never changed, then your AMSC remains Php 10,000.

Now, to learn how much unemployment benefit you’ll receive, simply get 1/2 of your AMSC which in this case is Php 5,000 (Php 10,000/2). That’s what you’ll receive for 1 month.

But since unemployed members are covered for a maximum of 2 months, multiply Php 5,000 to 2 and you’ll get a total of Php 10,000 worth of unemployment benefits.

You can also obtain this by using the formula presented earlier:

Php 10,000 x 50% (0.5) x 2 months = Php 10,000

 

Who are qualified to get SSS unemployment benefits?

sss unemployment benefit 1

The SSS unemployment insurance or involuntary separation benefit is available to employees, including the kasambahays and OFWs, provided that they meet the following qualification requirements:

1. Must not be more than 60 years old at the time of sudden unemployment. However, a lower age requirement is applied for those working as an underground/surface mineworker and racehorse jockey who must NOT be over 50 and 55 years old, respectively.

2. Has paid at least 3 years (36 months) worth of monthly contributions, 12 months of which should be in the 18-month period immediately preceding the month of involuntary separation/unemployment.

3. With no settled SSS unemployment benefit within the last 3 years prior to the date of unemployment. You can only apply for this benefit ONCE every three years so if you already received this benefit within this period, you’ll be disqualified to get another one.

4. Has been involuntarily separated/laid off due to a valid reason.

This valid reason can either be one of the authorized causes for termination of the employee under Articles 298 (283) and 299 (284) of P.D. No. 442 (Labor Code of the Philippines), as amended:

  • Installation of labor-saving devices;
  • Redundancy;
  • Retrenchment or downsizing;
  • Closure or cessation of operation; or
  • Disease/illness of the employee whose continued employment is prohibited by law or is prejudicial to his or his co-employees’ health.

Or, one of the causes that allow an employee to quit his job without notice to the employer, as stated under Article 300 (285) of P.D. No. 442 (Labor Code of the Philippines), as amended. These are:

  • Serious insult by the employer or his representative on the honor and person of the employee;
  • The inhuman and unbearable treatment accorded the employee by the employer or his representative;
  • Commission of a crime or offense by the employer or his representative against the person of the employee or any of the immediate members of his/her family; and
  • Other causes that are analogous to any of the foregoing.

Other causes of termination:

  • Economic downturn (e.g., job loss due to the recession)
  • Natural or man-made disasters/calamities.
  • Other similar cases to be determined by the SSS or the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
 

Who are NOT qualified to get SSS unemployment benefits?

sss unemployment benefit 2

Not all employees who were involuntarily laid off can avail of the unemployment insurance from SSS. As a rule, employees can’t get unemployment benefits if the cause of the termination is one (or more) of the causes stated under Article 297 (282) of P.D. No. 442 (Labor Code of the Philippines), as amended. These are:

  • Serious misconduct;
  • Willful disobedience to lawful orders;
  • Gross and habitual neglect of duties;
  • Fraud or willful breach of trust/loss of confidence;
  • Commission of a crime or offense; or
  • Similar cases like abandonment, gross inefficiency, disloyalty/conflict of interest/dishonesty.

In other words, you are qualified to get the benefits if the reason why you’re laid off is outside of your control and not caused by your negative behavior. Otherwise, you’ll be disqualified and your employer has the upper hand in preventing you from getting the unemployment insurance.

 

How to Apply for SSS Unemployment Benefit Over the Counter: 3 Steps.

1. Complete the SS unemployment benefit requirements.

a. Original copy and photocopy of at least one (1) valid ID.

You can bring any one of the following primary ID card/documents:

If you don’t have any of the above-mentioned valid IDs, you can bring the original copies and photocopies of any two (2) ID cards/documents, provided that both of them contain your signature and at least one of them shows your photo.

b. DOLE Certification with the attached Notice of Termination or Affidavit of Termination of Employment.

All qualified employees who want to avail of the SSS unemployment insurance/benefits are required to secure a DOLE (Department of Labor and Employment) certification establishing the nature and date of the involuntary separation.

To apply for the DOLE certification, you need the following:

  • At least one (1) valid ID (see the previous section). However, most DOLE offices require an original copy and photocopy of 2 valid IDs so make sure you bring an additional ID on the day of your application; and
  • Either a copy of Notice of Termination of Employment issued by the employer (also known as “Termination Contract”) or a duly notarized Affidavit of Termination of Employment (see a sample here; you need to scroll down to view the sample affidavit). The second one is preferred in case your relationship with the employer didn’t end in good terms and there’s no way for you to obtain the Notice of Termination of Employment. You need to bring an original copy and photocopy of the document.
  • Certification Form (to be given by DOLE).

Once you already have the above requirements, proceed to the following office to file your application for DOLE certification:

  • For local employees and kasambahays: DOLE Field or Provincial Office where the company of the employer is located or where the employee resides.
  • For OFWs: Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) where the employer operates or the DOLE Field/Provincial Office where the OFW resides.

As long as the documentary requirements you’ve submitted are complete, expect the DOLE Office or POLO to issue you the DOLE certification within one (1) day after receiving and verifying your application. 

c. A UMID-ATM card or a Union Bank of the Philippines (UBP) Quick Card.

Should you get approved, you won’t receive the benefits in the form of cash or check. Instead, SSS requires those who will avail of this benefit to have either of the two:

  • UMID card enrolled as an ATM; or
  • UBP (Union Bank of the Philippines) Quick Card. Your bank statement/certificate containing your name, account number, bank branch, and address is also accepted.

After approval, the unemployment benefits will be credited to your account so it’s imperative to have either of the two mentioned above. If you don’t have any of them, you’ve got two options:

  • Apply for a UMID-ATM card. In case you already have the UMID card (without the ATM functionality), you can also apply for UMID-ATM card, this time as a replacement; or
  • Apply for a UBP Quick Card at the Union Bank of the Philippines Kiosk located at selected SSS branches.

Between the two, I recommend getting the UBP Quick Card because:

  • It’s a Visa card so you can use it as a debit card for online or offline purchases;
  • It has no maintaining balance;
  • It can be used as a personal bank account (Related: Best Bank in the Philippines – A Definitive Guide);
  • It can be used for remittances;
  • It’s easy to obtain since you can apply for it at the same SSS branch where you’ll file your application. You can find UBP Kiosks at select SSS branches, including the main branches in Diliman, Makati, Cebu, Iloilo, and Davao;
  • It can be used to receive other SSS claims.

2. File your unemployment benefits claim at any SSS branch.

After completing your requirements, proceed to ANY SSS branch or SSS foreign office to file your claim.

The filing must be done within a year from the date of involuntary separation/unemployment. 

Once your application is approved, you’ll be informed when you’ll receive the SSS unemployment insurance/benefits.

3. Receive the cash benefit.

You’ll receive the one-time payment of the unemployment benefit through your UMID-ATM card or your UBP Quick Card account, whichever you’ve chosen. SSS doesn’t make the payment through cash or check.

Based on some members’ experience, the SSS unemployment benefits are usually credited to your account an average of 5-10 working days from the date of application. 

Aside from the two cards, there are also other modes of payment currently under development. Once implemented, the following payment channels will also be available to receive your unemployment benefits:

  • Banks under PESONet;
  • Non-bank cash pick-up.
 

How to Apply for SSS Unemployment Benefits Online: 7 Steps.

The sudden surge of unemployment brought about by the nationwide lockdown has pushed the Social Security System (SSS) to work on an online filing system that will fast track the application process for SSS unemployment benefits.

According to SSS President and CEO Aurora Ignacio, the said online filing system could be available as early as April to all the displaced workers due to the pandemic, the total number of which is yet to be accounted for due to the limited workforce of the SSS.

Update: As of June 25, 2020, application for the SSS unemployment benefits can now be filed online.

Time needed: 15 minutes.

If you’re qualified to receive SSS unemployment benefits, you may proceed with the online filing of application by following the steps below:

  1. Go to the new SSS online portal.


    You may access it by clicking this link. There are three portals to choose from: Member, Employer, and Small Business Wage Subsidy Program.

    Since the SSS unemployment benefits are only available to members who have recently lost their jobs, choose Member.sss unemployment benefits online application 1

  2. Log in to your My.SSS account.


    Enter your user ID and password in the SSS Member Login page. Tick the captcha box and then click ‘Submit’ to access your My.SSS account.

    In case you have forgotten your user ID or password, read the instructions here to retrieve it.

    If you haven’t created a My.SSS account yet, go to this SSS online registration guide to know about the process. sss unemployment benefits online application 2

  3. Select ‘Apply for Unemployment Benefit’ from the list of SSS E-Services.


    Hover your cursor over the E-SERVICES menu and then click ‘Apply for Unemployment Benefit’ to proceed with the online application.sss unemployment benefits online application 3

  4. Fill out the online filing form.


    At the top of the page, you’ll see your mailing address, contact number, and email address connected to your account. Make sure they’re updated. You may click the link provided should you need to make any changes.

    Then, fill out the online filing form.

    Use the following guide to ensure you’ll provide accurate answers to the required fields:

    *Bank Details. If you previously enrolled your active savings account through the bank enrollment module (BEM), simply select the said savings account from the drop-down box provided. If you haven’t registered any savings account yet or you want to use another bank account where you prefer to receive the unemployment benefit, simply click the link provided to proceed with the bank enrollment.

    *Employment Category. Choose the employment category you belong to–Covered Employee/OFW, Mine Worker, or Racehorse Jockey.

    *Date of Separation. This must be the date of your involuntary separation as indicated in your termination contract. The date is in MM/DD/YYYY format.

    *Reason of Unemployment. The reason for involuntary separation must be valid otherwise your application will be rejected. To see the list of reasons accepted by SSS, please see “Who are qualified to get SSS unemployment benefits?” in the previous section.

    *Employer ID. This is the SSS employer ID number of the employer from which you’re involuntarily separated. You can obtain this information by calling or reaching out to the company HR.

    *Employer Name. Provided that your SSS account is updated, you only need to select the name of the employer from which you’re involuntarily separated from the drop-down list provided.

    Double-check the encoded details to make sure they’re complete and accurate. Otherwise, you might encounter problems in claiming the benefits due to erroneous information.

    Once everything is ready, click ‘Proceed’.sss unemployment benefits online application 4

  5. Read the certification.


    If you agree with the information provided, click ‘Submit’ to proceed with the application.

  6. Wait for the email notification from SSS.


    Once you receive it, you are required to reply with the attached scanned images of the documentary requirements specifically the certification issued by DOLE or POLO as well as notice of termination from your employer/affidavit of termination from employment. For more information about these requirements, click here.

    After sending the requirements, SSS will send another email confirming they have received your message and processing of your application has officially started.

  7. Wait for the release of your unemployment benefits.


    About 5 to 10 days from the date of your application, SSS will release the money either to your enrolled savings account or other payment channels approved by SSS such as your UMID-ATM card, PayMaya, and remittance transfer companies.

 

Tips and Warnings.

  • A qualified employee can only claim the SSS unemployment benefit once every three (3) years starting from the date of involuntary separation/unemployment.
  • If there are two or more compensable contingencies within the same compensable period, you’ll receive only the highest benefit. In other words, SSS can not issue two benefits at the same time. So in the event that you’re qualified for both sickness and unemployment benefits, you can only get whichever is higher between the two.
  • The settled/approved unemployment benefit will be deducted, either in partial or full, from the future benefits you might receive if: (1) There are overlapping benefits; (2) When the involuntarily laid off employee files a case against the employer and the resolution thereof showed that the reason for termination was due to just cause/s or the case/complaint resulted in the reinstatement of the employee with the payment of back wages; (3) When the filing or payments involve false claims; or (4) When the employee is rehired within the same compensable period.
  • For more information about the SSS unemployment benefits, you may contact SSS via email ([email protected]), hotline (1455), call center (7917-7777), or any of their social media channels.
 

Frequently Asked Questions.

1. I resigned from my job. Can I avail of SSS unemployment benefits?


No. Because it’s an “involuntary” separation benefit (meaning it’s not your choice to be fired), employees who voluntarily quit the job with their resignation clearly indicated in their termination contract will not be granted a DOLE certificate, thereby disqualifying them from getting the SSS unemployment benefits.

2. My application for DOLE certification has been denied/rejected. Why?


There are plenty of reasons why DOLE may refuse to issue you a certification. Here are the most common ones:

*You were terminated but your employer didn’t issue you a termination contract;
*You were terminated due to redundancy, retrenchment/downsizing, business closure, etc. but your employer failed to declare it to DOLE prior to giving you the termination contract;
*You were terminated due to serious misconduct or other reasons stated under Article 297 (282) of P.D. No. 442 (For more information, please see “Who are NOT qualified to get SSS unemployment benefits?”);
*You resigned from your job and the same is stated in your termination contract (again, this is an “involuntary” separation benefit);
*Your termination contract contains wrong information/typographical error/spelling errors (if this is the case, request for a revised contract from your company HR);
*You’re applying for DOLE certification more than a year after the date of your termination (Remember: You should file your claim WITHIN A YEAR from the date of your involuntary separation).

3. I’m an SSS voluntary member. Can I avail of this unemployment benefit?


Unfortunately, no. The SSS unemployment benefits/insurance is only available to employed members (including the kasambahays and OFWs) in the event that they get laid off from their jobs. If you’re a voluntary member who needs cash for your short-term needs, you can apply for an SSS salary loan instead.

4. Can I still apply for the unemployment benefits even if I have an outstanding/existing SSS loan?


Yes. The unemployment benefit is a BENEFIT, not a loan. Therefore, having an existing loan won’t prevent you from availing it. As long as you meet all the qualification requirements listed here and you didn’t resign from your job, then you’re welcome to apply.

5. How long is the processing time of the SSS unemployment benefits?


You’ll receive the cash benefit after 5-10 working days from the date of application.

6. I’ve been temporarily laid off. Am I qualified to get SSS unemployment benefits?


Yes. Layoffs involve employees who have lost their jobs due to reasons not related to their actual job performances. In other words, it’s an involuntary separation from work, thereby making them qualified to avail of the unemployment benefits. Layoffs can either be temporary or permanent but in both cases, the employees are already considered jobless without all the company benefits they used to enjoy.

Although temporary layoff is a good enough reason to receive the unemployment benefits, your application will still be subjected to a meticulous review by an SSS representative. Therefore, make sure you can present all the necessary documents that will prove the nature of your unemployment.

7. I’m on floating or furlough status. Can I avail of the SSS unemployment benefits?


No. Technically, furloughed employees are still employees. They may be temporarily off the payroll but they retain their employment rights and can still enjoy some of the company benefits. They are different from laid-off workers who are technically not employees of the company anymore.

Since furloughed employees are still considered employed, they can’t be issued the required termination contract and DOLE certificate necessary to be qualified for the SSS unemployment benefits.

8. I became unemployed after my contract officially ended. Can SSS members like me who became jobless due to “endo” still apply for the unemployment benefits?


No. The SSS unemployment benefit is only for workers who were involuntarily separated from their work. If your contract ended, then you were not terminated so you won’t be issued a termination contract which is necessary to qualify for the SSS unemployment benefits.

9. I applied for the SSS unemployment benefit and was approved. However, I got a new job within 2 months after I was laid off. Am I still qualified? Can I still get my unemployment benefits?


If the unemployment benefits were already issued to you but you’re rehired within 2 months following your termination, the SSS will simply deduct either its partial or full amount from any future SSS benefit you’ll claim.

On the other hand, if you applied for the unemployment benefit but haven’t received it yet when you’re re-hired, you can still claim the money provided that your new employer hasn’t remitted your first contribution yet. Likewise, the amount of your claimed benefits will be deducted from your future SSS benefits.

Luisito Batongbakal Jr.

Luisito E. Batongbakal Jr. is the founder and chief content strategist of FilipiKnow, a leading online portal for free educational, Filipino-centric content. His curiosity and passion for learning have helped millions of Filipinos around the world get access to free insightful and practical information at the touch of their fingertips. With him at the helm, FilipiKnow has won numerous awards including the Top 10 Emerging Influential Blogs 2013, the 2015 Globe Tatt Awards, and the 2015 Philippine Bloggys Awards (nomination).

232 thoughts on “How to Apply for SSS Unemployment Benefit: An Ultimate Guide

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  6. the reason why applying I were included in the retrenchment program of our company last week.

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