How SSS fails its members

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EMETERIO SD. PEREZ

SOMETIME last December, Nelson Badilla, a reporter of The Manila Times, wrote about the court suits that the Social Security System said it would file against 34,000 delinquent employers for failing to pay their obligations that had reached or perhaps even topped P1.4 billion.

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That’s the good news that should have awakened SSS officials, who probably need to review their rules in collecting members’ contributions. Are these rules member-friendly?

The bad news is, SSS may not be as member-friendly as its members expect it to be because some of them, if not all, find it difficult to file documents that are regularly submitted to them.

(Disclosure: As a retired worker, I have been receiving for 10 years now my monthly pension benefits from SSS. For this, I am grateful. Still, I am writing this piece so that those officials who are managing the workers’ contributions would simplify their collection policies by reducing the number of documents that are required for their perusal.)

What authorization?

I am relating here my sad encounter with SSS so that the public would learn the ABCs in transacting with it.
You may not learn much from me but you may want to observe how the self-employed members patiently wait for hours for their respective numbers to be called before being served.

My complaint? For instance, for a simple submission of receipts of payments to its accredited banks, the SSS office at Save More in Biñan, Laguna, demands the submission of authorization letter.

I was only doing an errand for my wife and our family aide—the name I use when referring to our helper—but was “punished” by SSS by requiring me to attach to the bank receipts a letter of authorization and an ID.

Perhaps, by ID, Era Sol S. Vale, the SSS’s counter girl, was referring to an identification card issued to my wife by her office.

Compliance

I don’t know if I can be as dutiful to SSS as I am to my wife. What kind of authorization does it need for it to accept the proofs of payments of our family aide’s contribution and the counterpart amounts contributed by my wife?

I do not even know if I should return to SSS Biñan or go to another satellite office to fulfill our obligation.
Besides, Ms. Vale, the counter girl, did not explain the kind of letter of authorization she and SSS need for our filings.

Let me exaggerate a little bit. I took the “letter of authorization” to mean one from my wife and another from our family aide. These requirements would be additional burdens for the employer—my wife; a member worker—our family aide; and the liaison officer that I have become.

If I go back to SSS Biñan, should I also bring with me a proof of my marriage to my wife to fully satisfy the requirements and curiosity of both SSS and its counter girl? I don’t know if the officials of SSS Biñan would believe me that I am married to my wife. What a paradox this issue has become!

Common rules

Going back and forth to SSS Biñan would be a waste of both money and time. Why don’t I take to SSS all kinds of documents that would fit my bag?

Ironically, while SSS Biñan requires attachments to the bank deposit receipts, its office at Waltermart along Santa Rosa-Tagaytay Road does not. Why can’t SSS synchronize its rules on submission of documents that all its satellite offices must follow?

Here is a worker who obeys the law by becoming a member but is being frustrated by an SSS’s impositions.
Please take note: Frustration and unexpressed anger must be among the reasons why SSS tops the list of government offices with the most complaints. It is time for its officials to examine their conscience where they could have failed miserably in serving SSS members.

By the way, while SSS’s failure to collect billions from delinquent employers is bad news, its lack of even a semblance of courtesy to this volunteer is a big and an unforgivable insult.

By the way, I learned the name of Ms. Vale, who was standing by another counter, when I asked her. Instead of directly responding, she told me to look at her counter where she said her name was visibly posted. Was she arrogant? Just asking.

esdperez@gmail.com

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