The Social Security System (SSS) encourages all farmers, fisherfolk, and other self-employed persons in the informal economy to register with SSS and pay their contributions under a new and more flexible schedule.
SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Michael G. Regino said the new contribution payment scheme would allow farmers, fisherfolk, and other self-employed individuals in the informal economy to pay contributions for any of the last twelve (12) months in the current month.
“We want to help our farmers and fishermen to have social security coverage from SSS. They are among the most vulnerable members of our society. By offering them a flexible way of paying their SSS premiums, we provide them greater opportunity to pay social security contributions for all months of a year for full protection through the various benefit and loan programs of SSS,” Regino said.
Regino said that if a farmer pays his SSS contributions on October 28, 2022, under the new program, he can still pay his monthly contributions in the past 12 months before October 2022 or from October 2021 to September 2022.
Regino said that under the existing payment deadline of remittances, self-employed members such as farmers, and fisherfolk who will pay their contributions on October 31, 2022 can only pay their monthly contributions for July to September 2022.
“We saw that the current payment schedule for self-employed members, which also includes farmers and fisherfolk, is not suitable for them,” he said.
He explained that SSS had set a new contribution payment scheme aligned with the harvesting seasons of the farmers and fisherfolks. Based on a study by SSS, farmers and fisherfolk usually have two harvesting seasons in a year and about four to five lean months.
“Our farmers and fisherfolk do not have a regular monthly income from their produce, unlike ordinary workers. They only get their earnings on a seasonal basis, so we devised this scheme that allows them to pay their SSS contributions for all months in a year,” Regino said.
He added that self-employed SSS members are entitled to social security benefits such as sickness, maternity, retirement, disability, funeral, and death. They also qualify for loan programs, including salary, calamity, and educational assistance.
Aside from SSS coverage, the SSS chief said self-employed members also have additional coverage from the Employees’ Compensation (EC) Program for work-related contingencies.
Regino said they could pay their SSS contributions through digital payment platforms such as the SSS Mobile App, Bayad or GCash mobile apps, and ShopeePay. “They also have the option to pay through the internet banking facility of the Security Bank and Union Bank of the Philippines as long as they have an existing deposit account with the said banks.
The latest data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed that the country has 9.4 million self-employed skilled agricultural, forestry, and fishery workers. Of these, Regino said there are only about 636,000 registered with SSS.