The OWWA Social Benefits program is an initiative of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) in an attempt to help its active member OFWs and their families ease their financial burden and protect them from various risks. It is offered by the agency to both active and inactive members, and includes support in the form of health care, disability and death benefits, and family welfare assistance programs.
As one of the agency’s major projects, the Social Benefits Program is OWWA’s attempt to provide support to millions of migrant Filipino workers across the globe as part of their membership privileges. Read on to learn more about what the OWWA Social Benefits Program offers.
- OWWA Social Benefits
- Video: OWWA Social Benefits Program para sa OFWs at Dependents
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- 1. What are the benefits that OFWs can avail via the OWWA Social Benefits Program?
- 2. Who is qualified for the OWWA Social Benefits?
- 3. Can I still avail the benefits of the OWWA Social Benefits Program if the cost of the needs exceeds the program’s allotted amount?
- 4. Where can I claim the OWWA Social benefits?
- 5. Can I avail of the OWWA Social benefits if I am an inactive OWWA member?
- 6. Are MEDplus and WAP Medical Assistance the same?
- 7. Can I use MEDPlus multiple times or for different dreaded diseases?
- 8. How long does it take for my MEDplus application to get processed?
OWWA Social Benefits
Social benefits are typically offered as support in the form of cash or in-kind benefits, in times of emergency. OWWA also offers the social benefits program to protect their members (active or otherwise) in the event of sickness, unemployment, calamity, disability, dismemberment, or death.
The OWWA Social Benefits Program is divided into four different sub-programs. They were created to offer support and protection as follows:
1. Disability and Dismemberment
Sustaining injuries following an accident at work may result in disability (limited ability to do things) and dismemberment (loss of body use, parts, or function). It’s something to prepare for, especially if you are an Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who usually serve as the breadwinner of the family. After all, getting harmed is equivalent to cutting off your family’s support. It’s good if you can take time off of work to recuperate but it will be hard to do so and still pay for yours and your family’s upkeep at the same time.
This is exactly what the OWWA Social Benefit – Disability and Dismemberment Program is all about. It was meant to support OFWs when they sustain injuries resulting in limited ability to do things (disability) or loss of body use, parts, or function (dismemberment) and needs to be treated for it.
An active OWWA member who sustained disability or dismemberment as a result of an accident while at work is entitled to the following benefits:
- Cash assistance amounting to up to fifty thousand pesos (₱50,000.00) for partial disability.
- A maximum of one hundred thousand pesos (₱100,000.00) in cash in the event of total permanent disability.
2. Supplemental Medical Assistance for OFWs (MEDplus)
Also offered as part of OWWA Social Benefits Program is the Supplemental Medical Assistance for OFWs (MEDplus). It is a collaborative supplemental medical relief program jointly offered by OWWA and PhilHealth to provide a one-time medical or financial assistance similar to that of a health maintenance organization (HMO) to help OFWs in the event of hospitalization due to dreaded diseases.
Under MEDplus, OWWA offers benefits equivalent to that of the PhilHealth case rate system to help pay for hospital or medical bills for the treatment of dreaded diseases. Some examples of dreaded diseases include:
- Heart Attack
- Chronic Coronary Heart Disease
- Kidney Failure
- Major organ transplant:
- Bone Marrow
The support offered under MEDplus allows OWWA member OFWs to receive cash assistance of up to fifty thousand pesos (₱50,000.00) per member based on the PhilHealth case rate system.
3. Death and Burial
Just like accidents, death is not something that many people, especially OFWs, tend to have the foresight to prepare for. It’s inevitable, but people tend to disregard the possibility of dying at a young age which causes problems for the family left behind. After all, death is an expensive affair. There’s the cost of death and burial to worry about on top of the income loss caused by the untimely demise of the breadwinner of the family.
In an attempt to help the families left behind by deceased OFWs, OWWA, through its Social Benefits Program, has the following provisions for death and burial benefits as well.
- Death Benefit
- Cash assistance amounting to up to one hundred thousand pesos (₱100,000.00) for natural deaths
- Financial assistance of up to two hundred thousand pesos (₱200,000.00) for accidental deaths
- Burial Gratuity
- One-time funeral grant amounting to twenty thousand pesos (₱20,000.00) to help them bury their loved ones properly
4. Welfare Assistance Program (WAP)
Also under the OWWA Social Benefits is the Welfare Assistance Program (WAP)—an OFW support program that offers different kinds of cash benefits to active or inactive OWWA members who are not yet qualified for any other existing OWWA programs. These benefits include:
- Calamity Assistance – The calamity assistance benefits offer cash assistance to OWWA members and their families who are residing in places affected by natural calamities like super typhoons, earthquakes, major flooding, etc. This allows them to enjoy the following benefits:
- Cash assistance amounting to ₱500.00 (inactive members) and ₱1,000.00 (active members) in case of natural disasters
- Cash assistance amounting to ₱1,500.00 (inactive members) and ₱3,000.00 (active members) in the event of man-made disasters
Note: Calamity Assistance can be claimed by OFW members or other qualified dependents if they live in areas that the Local Government Unit (LGU) or the Office of the President has declared the place to be under a State of Calamity.
- Bereavement assistance – This benefit offers cash assistance to OFW beneficiaries when an OWWA member OFW, regardless of membership status, dies. The benefit includes:
- Cash assistance amounting to up to twenty thousand pesos (₱20,000.00).
- Disability Assistance – This benefit offers cash to OWWA member OFWs who have fallen victim to crimes or accidents resulting in disability. The benefit offers the following:
- Cash aid amounting to Php 2,500.00 and up to Php 25,000.00 for temporary or partial disability.
- Financial assistance ranging between Php 50,000.00 to Php 100,000.00 for complete permanent disability
- Medical Assistance – For OWWA members who suffer from illnesses that are not covered by MEDplus, the OWWA Social Benefits program also offers medical support in the form of a cash grant. This support is given in the form of:
- Medical cash assistance for those who suffer from diseases or sustains a crime- or accident-related injury.
- Relief Assistance – OWWA also offers temporary relief in the form of financial assistance to member OFWs who have been moved or laid off due to economic, political, or health crises, insolvency, or other unexpected circumstances.
Video: OWWA Social Benefits Program para sa OFWs at Dependents
To learn more about the OWWA Social Benefits Program, you may check this explainer video posted by Zennibit on Youtube:
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
For your reference, here are some of the most frequently asked questions regarding the OWWA social benefit program:
1. What are the benefits that OFWs can avail via the OWWA Social Benefits Program?
The OWWA Social Benefits Program includes provisions for assistance in the form of cash in the eventuality of OFW disability, dismemberment, and death. The OFWs and their families may also avail the benefits of the Supplementary Medical Assistance (MEDplus) and the Welfare Assistance Program (WAP).
2. Who is qualified for the OWWA Social Benefits?
OFWs, whether they are active or inactive OWWA members, as well as their eligible dependents may avail of and enjoy the privileges of the OWWA Social Benefits Program.
3. Can I still avail the benefits of the OWWA Social Benefits Program if the cost of the needs exceeds the program’s allotted amount?
Yes, but any costs exceeding the program’s allotted coverage will have to be shouldered by the OFWs and their families themselves.
4. Where can I claim the OWWA Social benefits?
To claim the benefits of any of the OWWA Social Benefits Program, you may visit the OWWA Regional Welfare Office (RWO) closest to the OFW’s permanent address or visit the POLO-OWWA office with jurisdiction over the OFWs’ workplace.
5. Can I avail of the OWWA Social benefits if I am an inactive OWWA member?
Yes. The benefits offered by OWWA under the Social Benefits Program are made available to inactive OWWA member OFWs via the Welfare Assistance Program (WAP). It was specifically designed to help OFWs who are not eligible to enjoy other OWWA programs. This includes their qualified dependents as well.
6. Are MEDplus and WAP Medical Assistance the same?
No. These are two different benefits under the OWWA Social Benefits Program. The Supplemental Medical Assistance for OFWs (MEDplus) requires the availees to be active OWWA member OFWs with an active PhilHealth membership to be able to enjoy the case rate system equivalent to the benefits from PhilHealth. The Welfare Assistance Program (WAP), on the other hand, offers medical assistance to both active and inactive OWWA member OFWs, regardless if they have active PhilHealth membership or not.
7. Can I use MEDPlus multiple times or for different dreaded diseases?
No. The program has limitations and applications are subject to approval by both OWWA and PhilHealth. As such, applicants can only get the grant for one dreaded disease per member. If the member has more than one dreaded disease, he or she can be redirected to other healthcare insurance policies and initiatives.
8. How long does it take for my MEDplus application to get processed?
Application for the MEDplus program usually takes up to three (3) business days upon submission of requirements and confirmation of PhilHealth benefit payment before it gets processed. Having said that, you need to make sure to submit your application with the complete requirements along with your PhilHealth Benefit Payment Notice (BPN) once you’ve been notified of your application’s approval.
In keeping up with its mandate as the premiere government agency in charge of the welfare and protection of OFWs and their dependents, OWWA has always had its programs geared towards the same goal. One good example is the OWWA Social Benefits Program. Under the Social Benefits Program, OFWs, regardless of their OWWA membership status, as well as their eligible dependents, can get the support they need in times of unforeseen or emergency circumstances like unexpected illnesses, accidents, unemployment, man-made or natural calamities, permanent or temporary disability, dismemberment, or death.
This support comes in the form of social benefits which include medical assistance, death, sickness, calamities, and disability and dismemberment. Like every other OWWA program, the OWWA social benefits program is designed to offer maximum support and protection to the target OFWs so they may have peace of mind knowing that OWWA has their backs in case of emergencies. However, while the programs are available to both active and inactive OWWA members, it is still best for OFWs to keep their OWWA Membership status active for optimum coverage, for better chances of enjoying other OWWA programs and benefits.