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.

Banawis further stressed that all workers who had work-related contingencies should file for the regular EC Claim benefits which is continuously 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.

“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 apply for their EC benefits by filing for their EC claim at the SSS or GSIS. Our prescription period for filing is three years,” she said.

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.

As to the cash assistance provided by the ECC, 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. 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.

“Nobody saw COVID-19 coming in 2020. The budget for Cash Assistance is at an amount regularly allotted for the number of cash assistance applications in the past years. We included COVID-19 sicknesses and deaths in the cash assistance program since COVID-19 is a compensable disease if it is acquired because of work or the working environment,” Banawis added.

She further explained that the ECC had realigned 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 until the end of February 2021,”  Banawis said

Banawis emphasized that ECC is ready to accept applications for Cash Assistance. Workers may ready their documentary requirements as the new guidelines for Cash Assistance application will be announced in ECC’s online platforms.

For local employees who acquired COVID-19 illness while in the line of work, the following are the basic requirements:  Copy of two (2) valid IDs preferably office/company ID, SSS/GSIS or other government-issued ID; Certificate of Employment declaring the employee’s last day of work prior to contracting the COVID-19; Laboratory (RT-PCR) Test Result and Medical Abstract/Medical Certificate.

For overseas seafarers, besides the abovementioned requirements, they need to present a copy of their Seaman’s Book/SIRB ID page or passport ID page and passport page with stamp of arrival in the Philippines, and a copy of their Overseas Employment Certificate covering overseas employment during the pandemic and repatriation because of COVID-19.

The ECC has been eyeing to increase the amount of cash assistance 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.