Since the early 1980s, the Philippines, with the SSS taking the lead, has pursued the establishment of social security agreements (SSAs) with other countries that host Filipino migrants. Provisions of these international treaties are compliant with the standards set under 1982 ILO Convention No. 157 on the Maintenance of Social Security Rights with respect to persons working or residing outside their own country.
There are four salient features of these agreements aimed at reducing or eliminating nationality-and territory-based restrictions on social security:
- Equality of treatment, which entitles a covered worker to social security benefits under the same conditions as nationals of the host country;
- Export of benefits, which allows a covered worker to continue receiving his social security benefits wherever he decides to reside, whether in the Philippines, the host country or even in a third country;
- Totalization of insurance periods, which provides for combining creditable periods of covered workers under the social security schemes of the Philippines and the host country, to determine eligibility to benefits and manner of calculation of benefit payment (usually on a proportional-sharing basis); and
- Mutual administrative assistance, which facilitates coordination between social security institution/s of the Philippines and the host country, through their designated liaison offices, to extend assistance to covered workers and handle matters pertaining to implementation of the agreement.
Apart from the above salient features, SSAs coordinate the Philippines’ social security programs with the comparable programs of other countries. As such, these address problems on dual coverage (coverage under the systems of two countries for the same work) and dual payment of contributions.
To date, the Philippines has established the following SSAs: