Here in the Philippines when you have regular legitimate work, you usually have a few standard benefits courtesy of the Philippine government. Yes, believe it or not, we have Social Security (for workers in the private sector), Pag-Ibig Housing and GSIS (for government employees). Some companies even offer salary loans to their employees with the help of a banking institution. Unfortunately the company I work for is too small to offer such loans, so for financial help I must turn to the government and the financial benefits that it offers in return for the contributions that are deducted from my monthly pay.
I visited the Social Security System branch in Pasay. This office used to be located at the Diplomat Hotel in Baclaran, but it has since moved to the HK Sun Plaza (on the side facing PNB). Sam and I were quite surprised to find the office spacious and well-lighted, with plenty of seats for clients waiting their turn at the service counters. We were there at around 10 in the morning on a Friday, so we expected the waiting area to be filled to capacity, but it was not.
Transactions at the counters were so efficient, none of the clients that were ahead of me was at the counter for more than 5 minutes. Even my own transaction, which was to verify the amount inadvertently left over from a previous loan from several years back, and to inquire as to how to pay for it—was answered in less than five minutes. The answer was simple and quick: Yes the amount I had seen on the SSS online inquiry is correct, and I can pay for the loan balance upstairs at the cashier’s. I then need to wait two weeks before filing an application for a salary loan. And I need to use the new forms because the ones downloaded from the internet were obsolete.
Armed with the new forms which were handed to me with a smile, I filled up the Payment Return form, went upstairs to pay my loan balance and then went back down again to hand over copies of the completed forms and receipt. And that was it. All in all we were in the SSS office for about 30 minutes total.
If you would like a PDF version of the NEW SSS ISL-101 (Rev 01-2006) click here to download one. I did a search on Google and found that the NEW form is indeed available online, just NOT from the visible SSS website. You can complete this form in Adobe Acrobat if you have the program, using the typewriter tool.
The bad news from that trip was that the SSS ID system is still down, ergo if your business with the SSS is to get an ID, the answer is “not possible”. If you do need to transact with them for loans and other benefits that require the presentation of an SSS ID, they will for now accept two valid Government-issued ID’s (passport + TIN ID for example). The other thing is that I will have to file my loan application at the branch that services the company I work for, which is the SSS branch at J.P. Rizal Makati. I don’t like that branch, it’s small and overcrowded and no one ever answers the phone which means you hear the phone ringing incessantly. I hope things have changed for the better when I go down there two weeks from now.