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Social Security Institutions Launch Digitalisation Programme to Rev Up Delivery Of Frontline Services in the Philippines

In reports to the Finance Secretary, Carlos Dominguez III, the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) and the Social Security System (SSS) outlined the accelerated implementation of digital transformation initiatives, especially during the pandemic, to ensure the unhampered delivery of services, despite the COVID-19 restrictions. Both institutions have also put in place information technology (IT) tools to keep their systems safe from data breaches and other forms of cyber-attacks and threats.

As per a press release, Dominguez had earlier instructed agencies attached to the Department of Finance (DOF) and the government financial institutions (GFIs) to institutionalise a cybersecurity programme through a cost-effective shared defence strategy. The GSIS is the technical lead for the insurance cluster in this shared cyber defence project.

On improving frontline services, GSIS has shifted to the online filing of all loans and claims since the early part of 2020 to help curb the spread of COVID-19. It also launched the online Annual Pensioners Information Revalidation (APIR) requirement in 2021 to protect pensioners from contracting the virus and ensure the continuous receipt of their pension. Instead of personally appearing onsite, pensioners may activate their status online. The SSS also shifted to the online filing of claims for retirement benefits, unemployment benefit insurance, sickness benefit reimbursement for employers, maternity benefits, and funeral benefits for member-claimants.

The registration of new SSS members to obtain an SS number can also be done online with the option to upload the required supporting documents. for those with Unified Multi-Purpose ID (UMID) cards and email addresses. Simple corrections in the member’s data can also be completed online. Benefit claims are now released to the designated disbursement account of the SSS member or pensioner, whether it be through electronic wallets, cash payment outlets, PESONet, or the Union Bank of the Philippines (UnionBank) QuickCard.

The SSS mobile app was launched in April 2018 and can be accessed by members and employers using their My.SSS account. The SSS App’s enhanced version was made available for download on the App Markets in 2021. Members can apply for a salary loan application, generate, and view contribution Payment Reference Number (PRN); pay for their contributions using digital methods; and view their posted contribution payments, salary loan status, and balance.

Employers can view their posted contribution and loan payments, the status of employees’ benefits applied, download pre-generated contributions PRN, and update their Employer contact information. Through the SSS mobile app, members and employers are provided with a more convenient way to transact with SSS without the hassle of queueing at the branches and enable them to access their SSS records using their mobile devices. The SSS has also set up its ExpreSSS e-Learning (ExSSSeL) portal to enable users to learn about the pension fund’s programs and updates.

The GSIS’ Touch mobile app has been available since last year to allow members to view their membership data, loans payments, service records, and membership service profiles. In its report, the GSIS said the Touch app will be enhanced before the end of the year to allow members and pensioners to apply for loans and perform tentative computations and check on the status of their applications. The app will also allow members to file life and retirement claims with the capability to do tentative computations.

Moreover, through the app, old-age and survivorship pensioners will also be able to schedule their Annual Pensioners Information Revalidation (APIR), which is the required renewal of their active status, online. If they do not have access to the Touch app, members can use the GSIS Wireless Automated Processing System (G-W@PS) in the 680 kiosks deployed nationwide. The G-W@PS kiosks provide members with services such as loan applications, online membership status queries, UMID card activation, and the annual renewal of pensioner’s active status. The GSIS has also implemented a risk-based information security programme that involves the deployment of various digital tools to keep its system safe from cyber-attacks.

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