If you're regularly employed -- that is, you are employed by a company, an organization or an institution -- paying your monthly SSS contributions is the least of your worries because they are automatically deducted from your salary. But if you're no longer employed but are still earning an income, you can continue your SSS membership, update your contributions and enjoy the benefits by being either a self-employed or a voluntary SSS member.
Formerly employed members are often confused which type of membership to change to. So let me try to differentiate the two. By SSS definition, a self-employed member is:
A self-employed person, regardless of trade, business or occupation, with an income of at least P1,000 a month and not over 60 years old... Included, but not limited to are the following self-employed persons.
a. self-employed professionals;
b. business partners, single proprietors and board directors;
c. actors, actresses, directors, scriptwriters and news reporters who are not under an employer-employee relationship;
d. professional athletes, coaches, trainers and jockeys;
e. farmers and fisherfolks; and
f. workers in the informal sector such as cigarette vendors, watch-your-car boys, hospitality girls, among others.
It seems that anybody who is earning can fit into the criteria. However, when I asked a local SSS branch, they said that if not a self-employed professional (like the ones mentioned above), a member must at least have a small business as source of their income in order to qualify as a self-employed SSS member. And when I asked which type of membership should I be if I'm no longer employed, not a professional, don't have a business but still wants to continue my contributions, they replied voluntary membership.
In order to become a voluntary SSS member, all you need to do is to pay your contributions using the SSS Form RS-5. No need to update your membership status as it will be automatically changed to voluntary once your payment is reflected.
If you prefer to be a self-employed SSS member, you have to change your membership status by accomplishing the SSS Form RS-1 and submitting the required documents (any of the following: authenticated birth certificate, driver's license, passport, click here for the complete list).
Another difference: as self-employed member, your monthly contribution will be determined by the monthly income declared during your change of membership status while as a voluntary member, you can choose your monthly contributions based on the amount that you're comfortable paying.
Once you've decided which membership to update to, there are still a few things that you need to take note of to make the transition from employed to self-employed/voluntary member easier.
First, register for an online account on the SSS website. This is really helpful in keeping track of your contributions and other notifications regarding your membership (loan eligibility and status, benefit eligibility and claim status, etc). Actually, all members can benefit from having an online SSS account.
Second, know the deadline of payment for your SSS contribution. Because you will be updating your contributions manually -- meaning, you will have to pay directly to a local SSS branch or to any accredited payment centers, you have to know the deadline for paying your contributions to ensure that you pay on time. SSS penalizes late payments and does not allow retroactive contributions.
SSS has released a new payment deadline schedule based on the last digit of member's SSS number. For SSS number ending in:
- 1 and 2 - every 10th day following the applicable month or the month you're paying for
- 3 and 4 - every 15th day
- 5 and 6 - every 20th day
- 7 and 8 - every 25th day
- 9 and 0 - every last day
Likewise, you have an option to pay your contributions on a quarterly basis. Quarterly payments refer to contributions for three consecutive months ending in March, June, September and December.
Again, using myself as an example, if I'm going to pay my contributions for the 2nd quarter (April, May and June) and my SSS number ends in 4, my deadline is on July 15.
Third, locate the SSS branch or accredited payment centers most accessible to your house or office or place of work. Remember that SSS is open during weekdays only and like most government agencies, usually have long queues so make sure that you can spare at least half a day (a weekday, that is) each month or quarter to update your contributions.
Thankfully, you can now pay your SSS contributions at selected SM Malls. I did this just last week and this is so hassle-free because there are no queues and you can pay during the weekends.
Fourth, keep tabs of all SSS contact information such as email, hotlines, Facebook account. Why? Because chances are, you will have inquiries regarding your membership at some point. Self-employed and voluntary members don't have the benefit of having HR officers, who can answer questions and usually take care of anything SSS related, unlike employed members. So keeping these contact info will come in handy when you need them.
NOTE: Please note that there's a lot of unanswered questions in the comments section below. I am in no way affiliated with SSS so I am not qualified to answer all queries pertaining to your account. The information I shared in this post is based on my experience and knowledge as a voluntary paying member of SSS. If you need more information or if you have a particular question that wasn't discussed in the post, the best way is to contact SSS directly. You can go to your nearest SSS branch, or leave a message on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/sssonlineinquirysystem, or you can also shoot them an email at SSS Member Relations <firstname.lastname@example.org> (yes, they do reply to emails but it might take a while).