Funds to pay for claims for employees’ compensation benefits for all workers in the public and private sectors who suffered from work-related contingencies, such as sickness, injuries, or death, remain available.
This was clarified by Employees’ Compensation Commission (ECC) Executive Director Stella Zipagan-Banawis to shed light on the status of application for the Employees’ Compensation Cash Assistance.
Executive Director Banawis said the available EC funds for its Cash Assistance in 2020 was already exhausted and just needs to be replenished due to the overwhelming number of cash assistance applications filed at the ECC Office during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic
“Nobody saw COVID-19 coming in 2020. The funds for Cash Assistance are at an amount regularly allotted for the number of claim applications in the past years. And COVID-19 sickness was not included in the 2020 budget. But, we have to clarify that we made a workaround to include COVID-19 sicknesses and deaths,” Banawis added.
She further explained that the ECC had realigned more than P50 million from the budget of its other projects under the Employees’ Compensation Program (EC Program) to accommodate the applications for cash assistance for workers who acquired and/or died due to COVID-19 because of their employment.
“In fact, as of December 2020, the ECC has already released over P40 million to more than 4,000 workers while a few hundreds more are being processed,” Banawis said.
But Banawis emphasized that while the public is still waiting for the resumption of the Cash Assistance this year, the EC funds for its flagship EC benefits remain available thru its administering agencies, the Social Security System (SSS) for the private sector and the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) for the public sector.
The EC Program provides the following benefits: Loss of Income Benefit, Medical Benefit, Death & Funeral Benefits, and Rehabilitation Services as administered by SSS and GSIS.
“Both private and public sector workers or employees who suffered from work-related sickness, injury, or death including those caused by the COVID-19 while in the line of work can still get their benefits by filing for their EC Claim thru the SSS or GSIS. Our prescription period for filing is three years,” she said.
The Cash Assistance is a benefit that ECC provides and administers in its central and regional offices. The amount of the EC Cash Assistance is P10,000 or P15,000 for sickness or death, respectively.
The ECC has been eyeing to increase this amount and is coordinating closely with the Systems on this to ensure the viability of the State Insurance Fund that pays for all EC claims and to further facilitate the processing and release of EC benefits for workers affected by COVID-19.