DUMAGUETE CITY, March 17 (PIA) – An official from the Social Security System (SSS) – Dumaguete City Branch emphasized that awareness of the government’s social benefit programs is part of women empowerment.

SSS-Dumaguete City Branch OIC-Assistant Branch Manager Mercedita Celis encouraged female residents of this city who are not yet members of the agency to enroll for a membership so they can be covered by the social benefit programs of SSS.

The SSS official explained in a recent Kapihan sa PIA  that based on their experience whenever they recruit new members especially women, the response they always get is that wives will ask their husband’s permission before they can enroll for membership.

“I would like to stress that we (women) should also empower ourselves. Be a member of SSS now,” Celis emphasized

“SSS contribution is not an expense. It is savings, especially for you. By the time (you get old), you and your husband can go to SSS and receive your pension,” Celis added.

Celis tackled SSS benefits such as retirement benefits, sickness, funeral, death, and disability benefits.

A special benefit for women is the maternity benefit in which she said females can claim P6,000 for a normal delivery given she has paid a one year contribution amounting to P330 every month.

However, she pointed out that the benefits every member receives are based on the amount of contributions they paid to the agency.

If in case a member belongs to the P15,000 range of salary compensation, the member can avail P30,000 maternity benefit.

On the other hand, Celis reiterated that the P1,000 increase in the SSS pension will be incorporated in April.

Celis explained the first P1 000 differential was released on March 3, the P1,000 differential for February was released on March 10 and the third differential is scheduled to be released today.

With this, Celis hopes that more women would become members of SSS.

"That is empowering women. Even though we can't avail the benefits immediately, put in mind it is savings. The mandate of SSS is to provide social protection to its members," Celis said. (rmn/ral/PIA7-Negros Oriental)