SSS Woes

July 03, 2016
Our future seems secured when we become a member of Social Security System or SSS. I have been a member of SSS for over 10 years now which entitles me for a monthly pension whenever I reach 60 years old. I thought I would be forever happy until 60! Until I found out lately that my membership was put in uncertainty. I hate when I knew it! 

A couple of months ago, when I submitted my maternity notification, the medical staff saw some discrepancy on my records. He said my first application in 2004 prior to my employment was encoded as a voluntary member which should have been self-employed based on their policy. (It looks like that I was not properly registered). He added that it might have affected or delayed my maternity benefits whenever I want to claim it. I felt so disappointed!  I wanted to rant at him but I tried to keep myself calm ( it's not his fault after all). He asked me if I was able to keep my RS -1,  "sorry sir, our house was burned 10 years ago!", I muttered.  I brought nothing except my clothes worn that time and a box of clothes. So he advised me to go downstairs (since the medical office is located on the second floor ) to get the documents he had suggested me to comply. 

Unsatisfied with his explanation, I went to the right person to clarify things. Since a lot of people queuing, I procured a priority number given only for the pregnant, old, and disabled person. Then when my turn came, I explained to the lady my situation and bombarded her with questions. 

1. Ma'am, it's my 4th time to claim such benefits including sickness benefits, why just informed me now that there's a discrepancy in my record?

2. Ten years has passed, how come your company has not had a single moment to check my records? 

3. Why did your staff, in the first place, approve my application as a voluntary member where they know much more the policy than me? 

She just answered all my questions as this: "Ma'am, the recent encoding system in SSS has now become stricter". Her answer was still vague to me. It doesn't make sense at all.

After that she told me to fill up the RS-1 to change my status from voluntary to self-employed plus I have to execute an affidavit, stating there my source of income in 2004 when I first applied in the SSS and have it notarized to the lawyer and attached a map where the SSS personnel can conduct their investigation. To be honest, I can barely remember what was my source of income way back then. Well, you can't blame me, it's been a long time. When I got home murmuring, my mother told me that she was able to save my Sara Lee I.D. from the fire. Yeah, I remember that I was (pala) a Sara Dealer so I wrote in my RS-1 form my proof of income and attached my ID in the affidavit as a supporting document. When I searched on the internet the address of the company, I found out that Sara Lee no longer existed. I just learned that the Tupperware and Sara Lee have been merged. But I was still a bit skeptical whether to use my position being a dealer after knowing everything but still I take chances. I still pursue it.

After one month, I received a text message from SSS saying,

Ma'am Jenniffer Lee. Good pm. This is from SSS (whose branch I won't mention ). Please visit our office regarding the affidavit you submitted. You need to submit a Tupperware account number to verify as a dealer. Look for (I won't mention the name). 


You see the hassle it brings me? With a bulky stomach (since I am pregnant), I kept going back to SSS. I personally approached the SSS manager to pour out my grievances. I said, "Ma'am I am not a Tupperware dealer, I am a Sara Lee dealer then". Why did your investigator demand me a Tupperware dealer account? (It appears to me that the investigator himself was confused ). So she asked me what are the other sources I had aside from being a dealer.  Oo nga pala, I just remember that I had been a tutor before I became a teacher in a private school. So she suggested me to execute again an affidavit and include a map of the home addresses of my tutees for re-investigation.

By the way, I am a bit bothered with the 2nd statement that says "Should SSS determine any misrepresentation......"  But I am hopeful that they will approve my affidavit.

Last week, Thursday, I already submitted the requirements needed to the SSS and I am looking forward that they will act on it immediately so my record will be corrected as soon as possible. My delivery is fast approaching, sometime in September, and I am depending half of my expenses on the maternity benefits that I may have gotten from them.

Before I end, here are the recommendations I would like the SSS to do to improve their services.

a. Conduct orientation for beginners to discuss the policy, benefits, and the process of application.

Like what happened to me, I am totally unknowledgeable that voluntary member is not allowed during the first application. If I had known, I would have filled up the correct one in the application form.

b. Provide regular seminars to the SSS staff (especially new ones) to remind them of their duties and SSS policies as well.

I have been transacting with different staff for many times when paying monthly contributions, applying for loans, and processing maternity benefits,  but no one was mindful to inform me about my record. Perhaps, the staff themselves especially the new ones didn't know their job well. If they had just informed me early, maybe 2 years after the application, I would have corrected my record immediately.

c. Make their computer system fast and updated.

I have registered in the SSS online for 5 years already so I can easily view my contributions, records, loan balance but I still find their system glitchy. I can't view the records in other browsers such as Firefox and Chrome, though I can view my records in Internet Explorer but a little bit sluggish.  I suggest that they will update their system regularly and I wish there's something in the system that will auto-alert the members whenever there are discrepancies in the records. I don't know how it will be done, but I think it's possible!

I know it's a heavy topic, but I believe some of you out there have experienced the same. Feel free to share your thoughts.

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