All regular employees, contractual workers, self-employed individuals, and government officials are mandated to pay for their social contributions in order to acquire the necessary protection for sickness, retirement, and medical expenses. Freelancers, whether working online or offline, are no exception.
The Role of Social Security System
The Social Security System is a social insurance system created to provide all working individuals and their families convenient and valuable social protection against old age, sickness, disability and other inevitable circumstances of life, both present and the future. SSS is designed for private individuals and employees while the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) is the system counterpart for public employees in the Philippines. Paying your SSS contributions provides the financial support you may need as you reach the retirement age as well as other support programs which your family may be entitled to receive. So, it is very important to continue paying your government contributions even if you decide to go freelance.
The Freelancer’s Guide to SSS Registration
Once you become a full-time freelancer, paying your monthly government contributions automatically becomes your responsibility. When you resign, your former employer will stop remitting contributions which are often deducted from your fixed monthly compensation because you have to do it on your own. You can still pay for your PAG-IBIG, SSS, and PhilHealth contributions as self-employed or a voluntary member. Regular payment to social contributions gives you the privilege to acquire a personal loan, a housing loan, adequate healthcare services, and other benefits so long as you meet the required number of monthly contributions.
Here are the Things you Need to Comply When you Register in SSS as a Freelancer:
- Accomplish SSS Form RS-1 (Self-Employed Data Record) with accurate and complete personal information.
- Submit the filled-up form together with a photocopy of the following documents:
- Baptismal certificate
- LTO Driver’s License
- NSO-issued birth certificate
- Valid passport
- Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) ID card (if available)
- Seaman’s Book
- Voter’s registration
Note that you are required to register as an employer and secure an employer ID number if you are managing a number of employees. The SSS employer ID number will be used in all company-related transactions with the SSS. A business registration (with the BIR and local government unit) will be required once your freelance business expands further.
- If you are an owner of a single proprietorship business, fill up SSS Form R-1 (Employer Registration) and R-1A (Employment Report) with your complete details.
- Submit the forms along with a photocopy of any of the supporting documents listed above.
- If you are one of the owners of a partnership, fill up SSS Form R-1 (Employer Registration) and R-1A (Employment Report). Submit the forms together with a photocopy of the Articles of Partnership. Bring the original copy of the Articles of partnership for SSS verification.
- Change your current membership status from covered employee, OFW, or non-working spouse to a voluntary paying member or self-employed.
- Submit SSS Form RS-5 using the same SSS number previously assigned to you.
Legal Dependents of an SSS Member
- Dependent spouse provided that the member has submitted a marriage contract
- Legitimate and illegitimate children
- Legally-adopted children
- Dependent parents (if the member is still single)
- Any other person in the absence of the above-listed beneficiaries
The Benefits of my.SSS Account
If you already have an existing SSS membership, it is advisable to create a My.SSS account to view your current social contributions safely wherever you are. My.SSS is an SSS online facility which enables registered members to access their contribution records without visiting any SSS branch anymore. All you need is to use a smartphone, laptop, or computer connected to the internet to utilize this online feature. With My.SSS, you can make transactions with the SSS beyond working hours, thus allowing you to save time, energy, and transportation cost in the long run. Here’s what My.SSS can offer you:
- Checking your current and previously posted SSS contributions
- Downloading, printing and viewing your membership records for safekeeping purposes
- Viewing your loan payment records
- Viewing the status of your SSS benefit claims such as death and disability
- Setting up an appointment with your nearest SSS branch for any SSS-related transaction
- Filing an SSS salary loan and calamity loan application
- Filing an SSS maternity benefit application
- Utilizing the online portal to ask questions or raise some concerns about SSS benefits and loans
- Reporting any act of misrepresentation of your SSS account
Who can Register to My.SSS?
SSS requires all interested members to go through the registration process to prevent any fraudulent act or misrepresentation while doing online transactions. The following individuals can sign up for an online SSS account:
- Regular employees with SSS coverage
- Employers and business owners
- Self-employed or voluntary members including freelancers and informal workers
- Unemployed spouses provided that they have a one month posted contribution
- Overseas Filipino Workers (active and former)
- Household service workers and maintenance crews
SSS Registration Through Online
Here are the steps in creating an official SSS online account. You should use the latest version of Internet Explorer to access the SSS website conveniently. Otherwise, it will not work properly.
- Visit the SSS registration page
The SSS registration page will show you a number of options which requires you to submit the information that you have previously registered. Select one among Savings account number, Unified Multi-purpose ID (UMID) card, mobile number, previous payment receipt transaction number, and employer ID number (before you become a freelancer).
- Fill up the online form as accurate as possible
Never leave any required field blank because the online registration will not proceed. You can leave the middle name field blank if you don’t have one. The online form will request for a UMID PIN if you choose the UMID card from step 1. If you don’t have one yet, you need to activate the UMID card from the SSS information counter before you can register. When you reach the bottom of the registration page, enter the captcha code and then click the box that says, “I accept the Terms of Service.”
- Click the submit button after reviewing the information. A confirmation message will appear, indicating that the registration has been successful.
- Wait for at least an hour, and you will receive an email confirmation.
When the submitted online form matches the SSS record, you will receive an email from firstname.lastname@example.org that contains an activation link and your login details. If the SSS finds some inconsistencies with your record, you may receive an email saying that your registration has failed. Check your spam folder in case you can’t find the SSS email from your inbox.
- Activate your My.SSS account using the provided activation link.
Activate your SSS account within the next five days; otherwise, the activation link will expire. If this happens, you need to register again and repeat the whole registration process. The activation link will direct you to the login page where you need to input your password (no special characters) and retype it for verification. Click the submit button, and you can start using the features of your My.SSS account.
If the online registration is unsuccessful, you may register again using another information you have registered with SSS (referring to the list above). Kindly reach SSS through email@example.com, or you may call 920-6446 to 55 for proper assistance.
SSS Payment Process for Self-employed and Freelancers
Even if you already left the corporate world, you should not neglect to pay your SSS contributions, so you can still access different loans and benefits during difficult times. For self-employed and freelancers, they can continue paying their contributions as a voluntary member. Though not required to continue your monthly contributions, always think of the many benefits you and your family may enjoy while working or when you reach the retirement age.
The amount you should pay depends on how much you can earn as a freelancer or self-employed on a monthly basis. But for voluntary members, they can pay only for how much they can provide. You may refer to the SSS Table of Contributions to determine the amount you must settle. Remember that payment for SSS contributions has a schedule to follow based on the last digit of your SSS number.
SSS Contribution Payment Schedules
- 1 or 2: every 10th day of the month
- 3 or 4: every 15th day of the month
- 5 or 6: every 20th day of the month
- 7 or 8: every 25th day of the month
- 9 or 0: Last day of the month
Self-employed and freelancers can pay their contributions either monthly or quarterly. For example, if your SSS number ends in 2, your April payment is due on May 10. However, if you are paying for the second quarter (April, May, and June), payment due will be on July 10. You should not miss paying your contributions on time as SSS will not accept missed payments from your previous months, referring to as retroactive payments.
Here are some locations where you can pay for your SSS contributions as a voluntary member:
- Auto-Debit Arrangement (ADA) with your designated savings account
You can have your contributions automatically deducted from your savings account. However, you need a maintaining balance before you can apply for SSS Auto-Debit arrangement and the SSS will only deduct the corresponding contribution for the current month. The participating banks are as follows:
- Banco de Oro (BDO)
- Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP)
- Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI)
- Philippine National Bank (PNB)
- United Coconut Planters Bank (UCPB)
- Philippine Savings Bank (PSB)
- Accredited payment centers such as SM Business Centers (bills payment section), Bayad Center and Robinson’s Mall
- Ask for an SSS voluntary contribution form and fill out your SSS details accurately. Please indicate the total amount and the months you wish to pay.
- Pay the necessary contributions. Present your original SSS ID and the original E-1 SSS form for verification purposes.
- After payment, the bills payment section will hand over the original receipt and an extra copy of your SSS voluntary contribution form. Expect to receive a text notification informing you that your SSS contribution has been successfully remitted.
- SSS main and branch offices
Updating your SSS membership status
When you decide to become a freelancer, you need to update your SSS membership records from “employed” to “self-employed” before you begin paying your contributions again. Here’s how you can change your membership type:
- Fill out two copies of the Member’s Data Amendment Request form (SSS Form E-4) after downloading them.
- Change the membership classification to self-employed and indicate the nature of the profession, estimated income, and the year started.
- Submit the filled-up forms and present your UMID card for processing. Please bring one photocopy of the UMID card.
If you need to change any information in your SSS data record other than membership type, submit one photocopy of any of the following documents:
- Marriage certificate (if you need to change your civil status)
- Birth certificate of children if you wish to modify the beneficiary section of your record
- NSO-issued birth certificate or valid passport for data corrections
Secondary documents can be submitted in the absence of the above-mentioned documents, provided that they bear your recent photo and date of birth. The following documents are:
- Employment or company certificate
- GSIS membership records
- Alien Certificate of Registration (ACR) for working foreigners
- Naturalization certificate from the Bureau of Immigration
- Driver’s license
- Scholastic records
- Postal ID and voter’s registration card
- Recent NBI clearance
- Taxpayer Identification card
- HDMF (PAG-IBIG membership card)
- PhilHealth card
How much Should you Contribute as a Voluntary Member?
The contribution rate for all self-employed, OFWs, and freelancers is 11% of the monthly salary credit, which is based on the declared monthly income. If an individual, for instance, is earning between PhP1,000 and PhP1,249.99, his minimum SSS contribution should be PhP110. The amount goes up as your monthly income increases. However, you will be required to pay the maximum contribution amount of PhP1,760 if your monthly income reaches PhP15,750 and above.
How to Apply for an SSS loan?
The SSS delivers two types of loan options called salary loan and calamity loan. Salary loans will depend on the declared monthly income of the borrower while calamity loans are offered once your location has been placed under the state of calamity by the government.
Qualifications of the Borrower
- If you have 36 months of contributions before the month of your loan application, you may request for a one-month loan.
- If you have 72 months of contributions before the month of your loan application, you may request for a two-month loan.
- Updated PAG-IBIG and PhilHealth contributions
- Updated payment records from other loans acquired such as housing loans
- No final benefits claims like death, maternity or retirement benefits prior to the month of application
Here’s How you can Apply for an SSS Loan:
1. Visiting the nearest SSS office branch
- Download the application form and fill out the form with complete details.
- Submit the forms together with your SSS ID and SSS Form E-6.
- Bring two valid IDs (photocopies) bearing your signature and clear image as supporting documents. You may also refer to the SSS Salary Loan guide to verify the acceptable IDs and other loan requirements.
The loan process will take at least three weeks or longer to complete. Once the loan has been approved, you need to personally get the loan from the branch.
2. Filing your loan application through the My.SSS account
- Visit the www.sss.gov.ph if you are already a registered member of My.SSS online portal and log in to your account.
- Proceed to the E-services navigation menu and choose “Apply for a Salary Loan.”
- Select the loan amount you wish to borrow. The available loan amount is based on your current employment status and the number of posted contributions you have made.
- Provide the appropriate mailing address and postal code where you want the check to be delivered. Once you receive the check, you need to have it converted to cash within 90 days from the date of issuance at any SSS-accredited bank.
Think of your SSS contributions as a worthy investment that may significantly alleviate your financial troubles in the future. You can rely on financial support from the government, knowing that you are qualified to get some benefits and loans when you need them.
Aldrich Tan is a duly registered Filipino architect and is currently working as a freelance writer focusing on content writing and blogging purposes.