SSS to launch new mandatory provident fund in January 2021

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 23) — Members of the Social Security System or SSS will be enrolled to a new mandatory provident fund starting next year.

The Workers' Investment & Savings Program or WISP is a "safe, convenient, and tax-free individual retirement savings plan," the state pensioner said in a presentation during a virtual briefing.

"It's another layer, it's our second layer of protection," explained SSS Vice President for Benefits Administration Joy Villacorta. "Additional benefits ito to supplement your pension benefits."

"The intent at the end, this will support retirement but also for final contingencies like total disability and death, this will also be used," she said of the program.

WISP will cover all employees in the private sector, self-employed individuals, overseas Filipino workers, and voluntary members with monthly salary credit or MSC of over ₱20,000 and have no final claim in the regular SSS program. They must also have contributions to the program.

Enrollment will be "automatic" for members with the said MSC beginning January 2021, with membership in WISP beginning on the date of the member's first posted contribution. Contributions to the new program — ₱650 per month, with private sector employers paying ₱425 and employees paying ₱225 — will be rendered along with the ones under the regular SSS program.

Coupled with the regular ₱2,600 paid out every month, an SSS member's total monthly contribution will now be ₱3,250.

The basis of a member's benefits is their total accumulated account value or AV at the time of claim approval, the institution added.

"Annuity shall be given in the form of fixed amount of monthly pension, to be paid until the member's AV is fully settled, covering at least 15 years," said the SSS.

Beneficiaries under WISP are the same ones the member has under the regular SSS program. The remaining balance in the member's accumulated AV will be paid in lump sum to their eligible beneficiary in case the concerned member dies.

The government pensioner likewise reminded early withdrawal of contributions or its earnings is prohibited.

The SSS said a "significant" chunk or at least 75% of investments made under WISP will be invested in risk-free government securities, while a "modest" portion or around ten to twenty percent will be invested in blue chip corporations. The principal will always be protected, it added.

Social Security Commission Chairman Sonny Dominguez recently announced a one-percent hike in monthly contributions of SSS members beginning January 2021. He said the increase will ensure the social pension fund's long-term viability.