P700-M benefits granted to govt, private workers

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The Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) has urged workers who were initially denied of their claim for compensation benefits to appeal their cases before the Employees’ Compensation Commission (ECC).

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello 3rd made the call on Tuesday after the ECC granted some P700 million in benefits to private- and public-sector workers who sustained job-related sickness, injury or disability in the first half of 2017.

The ECC is an attached agency of the Labor department that provides a package of benefits for public- and private-sector employees and their dependents for work-related sickness, injury, disability or death.

Approval and disapproval of workers’ claims are being handled by the Social Security System (SSS) for the private sector and the Government Service Insurance Service (GSIS) for the public sector.

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But the ECC, after an evaluation process, can overturn the SSS and GSIS decisions and order them to grant benefits and reimbursements of medical expenses.

In a report submitted to Bello, the ECC said that under its intensified Employees’ Compensation Program (ECP), the agency approved 142,812 claims with total value of P672,521,916.

Releases were made through the SSS and the GSIS.

According to ECC Director Stella Zipagan-Banawis, a big chunk of the benefits was released through the SSS with P571.78 million for 122,707 claims.

Of the amount, 74 percent or P421.1 million went to death and pension benefits with 97,918 claims.

The rest were releases for sickness benefits, disability, medical services reimbursements, funeral benefits and rehabilitation services.

The GSIS processed 20,105 benefit claims worth P100 million, of which P75.73 million was for death and pension claims.

Banawis said the agency managed to raise the amount of benefits released to 43 percent, while it noted a two-percent decrease in the number of claims processed from January to June 2017, compared with those recorded during the same period last year.

“We put premium on the safety and health of our workers, and we continue to emphasize the fact that prevention is always better than compensation,” she added.

Banawis reported that the state insurance fund at the SSS has a life beyond 2080 while the GSIS’s fund life is until 2059.

The ECC was created to implement the ECP, which provides a package of benefits for public- and private-sector employees and their dependents for work-related incidents such as sickness, injury, disability or death.

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