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Couple with an SSS Peso fund

Growing your savings with an SSS PESO Fund – Everything Filipinos need to know

When you’re thinking about the future, it’s always good to have some savings set aside for emergencies, goals, and needs.

While putting your money in a bank account is good, it won’t grow as much as spreading your cash out between savings and investments.

Yes, investing can be risky, but luckily there are fixed-income, government-guaranteed investment programs that an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) like you can enjoy.

We’ve discussed Pag-IBIG’s MP2 Savings in a previous blog, but today, let’s discuss the Philippine Social Security System (SSS) and the SSS PESO Fund.

What is SSS?

SSS is an insurance program run by the Philippine government.

Its goal is to ensure you have some savings set aside in case you become sick, injured, or unemployed. It also provides some financial assistance for both maternity and retirement.

What are my SSS benefits?

Whether you stick with only the regular SSS program or put additional savings into a SSS PESO Fund or Flexi-Fund account, you will have these benefits:

  • Sickness benefit – You can get an allowance to cover the days you couldn’t work because of an illness or injury
  • Maternity – Whether you are married or not, you can get an allowance for each pregnancy that results in a live birth, a miscarriage, or an emergency termination
  • Disability – If a partial or total disability keeps you from working, you can get a monthly pension or a lump sum amount to help ends meet
  • Unemployment – If you lose your job as an OFW, regular employee, or household helper, you can get some monetary assistance while you’re in the process of finding a new job
  • Retirement – You can receive a monthly pension or a lump sum to cover expenses once you decide to stop working and retire
  • Death – You can leave your beneficiaries a monthly pension or a lump sum after you pass away
  • Funeral – If you pay for an SSS member’s funeral, you can receive a cash benefit

Putting a bit of your savings into an SSS account has its advantages, so you should think twice before opting out of the program. For some, there is no way around it.

Is SSS required?

Yes and no. Depending on your employment status, an SSS account can either be required or voluntary.

For compulsory coverage, these people must pay SSS contributions:

  • Employers (both in businesses and those that employ household helpers)
  • Employees in private organisations
  • Self-employed workers
  • Household help, also known as kasambahay
  • Land-based and sea-based Filipino expatriates

Note: Not all Filipinos based abroad are required to pay SSS contributions. Some overseas Filipinos can be voluntary members.

For voluntary coverage, the following Filipinos can choose to pay SSS contributions:

  • Non-working spouses who are not employed but act as the manager of their household
  • Filipinos based abroad who have:
    • Immigrated to a new country
    • Become permanent residents in a new country
    • Become naturalised citizens in a new country
  • Separated members who:
    • Have become unemployed
    • Recently stopped being OFWs
    • Have become unemployed and ceased to be a non-working spouse

How do I join SSS?

If you’ve already signed up with SSS but can’t remember your Social Security (SS) number, contact your nearest SSS Branch or send an inquiry using the USSSAP TAYO portal. Do not re-apply for a new SS number.

If you haven’t signed up with SSS, here is how you get your SS number:

  1. Visit the SSS online portal
  2. Click “Apply for an SS number online”
  3. You will be directed to a registration page with instructions
  4. Click “Start”
  5. Fill out the online registration form, then click “Submit”
  6. You will receive an email to continue your application
  7. Fill out the next form
  8. Click “Generate SS number”
  9. Get your SS number and print your accomplished application form, SS Number Slip, and Transaction Number Slip using the PDF files sent to your email
  10. Check your email for your SSS activation link and a list of required supporting documents
  11. Visit your nearest SSS branch and present your registration documents
  12. The branch’s e-centre personnel will guide you through getting your Unified Multi-Purpose ID Card (UMID)

When you visit an SSS office, you should bring with you your birth certificate or your:

  • Baptismal certificate
  • Driver’s license
  • Passport
  • Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) card
  • Seaman’s book (Seafarer’s identification card and record book)

You can also bring any two of the following:

  • ATM card
  • Bank account passbook
  • Company ID
  • School ID
  • Voter’s ID

See the full list of supporting documents here.

Is SSS required for OFWs?

It bears repeating: If you are an OFW under 60 years old, based on land or at sea, you must pay SSS contributions. This also applies to prospective OFWs who already have a confirmed job waiting for them abroad.

Like regular employees paying SSS contributions back home, OFWs will be covered by the same benefits on the month and year of your first contribution.

There are also voluntary programs, like the SSS PESO Fund, that can help you grow your savings before retirement.

How much should OFWs pay SSS?

According to the Republic Act 11199, or the Social Security Act of 2018, the minimum monthly salary credit (MSC) that requires SSS contributions is PHP 8,000. Whether you pay the full contribution or only a part of it depends on whether you are sea or land based.

Sea-based OFWs are considered employees of their manning agencies; thus, they share the responsibility of paying SSS with their employers.

Fourteen percent of your monthly salary as a sea-based OFW goes to paying SSS contributions. You will pay 4.5%, while your employer will pay the remaining 9.5% along with PHP 10 or PHP 30 compensation, depending on how much you make.

As a guide, check out this table from the SSS Official Facebook Page.

Land-based OFWs have a different arrangement.

If you are a land-based OFW working in a country with a bilateral labour agreement (BLA) with the Philippines, then you follow the same payment scheme as seafarers. This means you and your employer are both responsible for paying your monthly SSS contributions.

Meanwhile, land-based OFWs working in countries that do not have a BLA with the Philippines are considered self-employed. This means they must pay their SSS contributions in full. That’s 13% of their monthly income.

Check out this table from the SSS Official Facebook Page for a guide.

If you work in a country without a BLA, how much you contribute to SSS will depend on the salary you declare.

Looking at both payment schedules, you’ll see that workers who make more than PHP 20,000 must put in an additional contribution to a mandatory provident fund. More on that later.

When should OFWs pay SSS?

Sea-based OFWs and those working in countries with BLAs are considered regular employees, so they and their employers must pay their SSS contributions at the end of each month.

Meanwhile, land-based OFWs working in countries without BLAs must follow this payment schedule:

  • Dec. 31: Contributions for January to September of the same year
  • Jan 31: Contributions for October to December of the previous year

What else should OFWs know about SSS?

Your work and savings are important, so it’s good to know some rules in the Social Security Act of 2018 that apply to you.

Here are some notable points in the law:

  • RA 11199 requires the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Department of Labour and Employment, and other government agencies that serve OFWs to establish BLAs with various host countries. Eventually, this will help land-based OFWs who currently pay SSS contributions as self-employed workers. With a BLA, their employers will help carry the load, just like what manning agencies do for OFWs at sea
  • You can make advanced SSS contributions, but you must keep track of any changes in policy as these may require you to make additional payments
  • If you stop being an OFW, you can continue making voluntary contributions, so you can keep your SSS benefits
  • Land-based OFWs will have to pay SSS contributions before they can get their Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC), which allows them to leave the Philippines for work:
    • New hires, direct hires, and government-to-government hires must pay one month’s contribution
    • Re-hires or returning workers must pay three months’ contributions
  • Land-based OFWs can update their MSCs to reflect their current salaries:
    • If you are younger than 55 years old, you can update your MSC as much as needed in a year, but it must not go lower than the minimum salary of PHP 8,000
    • If you are 55 years old and above, you can go up a salary bracket once a year or to match the SSS’s new minimum MSC if it changes in the future
    • If you are aged 55 and above, you can declare a higher MSC more than once in a year if you are a first-time OFW or if you change your membership type

How can OFWs grow their savings with SSS?

There are three government-managed funds OFWs can use to increase their savings with SSS. These are:

  • SSS PESO Fund
  • SSS Flexi-Fund
  • WISP

Let’s talk about each.


Short for Personal Equity Savings Option, the SSS PESO Fund is a voluntary provident fund that any SSS member can use to maximise their benefits.

According to the SSS, “Through this program, members who have the capacity to contribute more are given the opportunity to save more to receive higher benefits in the future.”

To start, you can contribute a minimum of PHP 1,000 and a maximum of PHP 500,000 in a year.

From here, your savings will be spread out into three accounts:

  • 65% for retirement and total disability
  • 25% for medical needs
  • 10% for general purposes (e.g., schooling, housing, or unemployment)

Over time, your savings will reap tax-free earnings because of the SSS office’s fixed-income investments in treasury bonds and bills.

To be eligible to enrol in the SSS PESO Fund, you must meet the following criteria:

  • You are an SSS member aged 54 and below
  • You’ve made at least six consecutive monthly contributions within the year of your enrolment
  • You are self-employed, voluntary, or an OFW member paying the maximum contribution in the regular SSS program
  • You haven’t made a final claim of your savings in the regular SSS program

To enrol in the SSS PESO Fund, you can choose from two ways:

  • You can fill out an enrolment form and submit it to the nearest SSS branch

Once you have your SSS PESO Fund account, you can withdraw up to 35% of your savings if needed. However, if you withdraw funds before your account is five years old, you will be charged a penalty and manager’s fee.

To fully withdraw your savings and earnings, you will have to wait for your account to mature when you retire. Total disability and death also result in account maturity. After your death, your beneficiaries each get an equal share of the total accumulated value.

SSS Flexi-Fund

Unlike the SSS PESO Fund, the SSS Flexi-Fund is only open to OFWs who are under 60 and are paying the maximum contribution in the regular SSS program.

This is a voluntary program that allows OFWs to contribute a minimum of PHP 200 without a maintaining balance or a maximum deposit amount.

All you need to do to join the program is:

  • Pay at least an excess of PHP 200 into your regular SSS contributions whenever you can. Your excess funds will be credited to your Flexi-Fund account

The perks of joining this program are:

  • Your funds will go into fixed-income investments. Then, you can get a share of the income in annual incentive benefits (AIB) if you haven’t made any withdrawals or claims within the year
  • You can withdraw funds in case of emergencies with no transaction fees if your account is older than a year
  • What you save and earn can be used, tax-free­, for:
    • Retirement
    • Disability
    • Death


WISP stands for Worker’s Investment Savings Program. It is a mandatory program for active SSS members who earn more than the maximum MSC of PHP 20,000.

While SSS PESO Fund or Flexi-Fund contributions are covered by the account holder, WISP payments are shared between an employee and their employer. They make these payments at the same time as they pay their regular SSS contributions.

There’s also no need to fill out any forms or present any documents to join the program. If you earn more than PHP 20,000, you are automatically enrolled to WISP.

While this is another cut out of your savings, your WISP payments will go to the following investments:

  • 75% to risk-free government securities
  • 10% – 20% to blue chip corporations

You’ll get a share of what SSS makes from these investments, and the more you save in WISP, the larger the share you get.

Once you retire, or in case of total disability, you can claim your WISP savings and earnings along with your regular SSS benefits. That means you’d get more back at the end of the day than if you hadn’t opened a WISP account.

In case of death, your beneficiaries will be the same as the people you listed in the regular SSS program, and they can receive your remaining WISP funds in one lump sum.

How do I pay my SSS Contributions

Paying your SSS contributions can be a hassle, but it should pay out in the end.

When you make your deposits online, you’ll want to use an app that is convenient and secure.

For on-the-go OFWs who are saving for retirement, Kabayan Remit offers an easy money transfer solution with great exchange rates and very low fees.

To learn how you can send funds to SSS, follow our steps here.


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