The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) is true to its mandate of promoting and protecting Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and their families. This agency has been helping many OFWs for decades, especially in times of difficulty, acting as insurance to OWWA members. But how does OWWA help its members, and what are the cash aids they offer? Keep reading as we share the varying cash aid programs of OWWA for OFWs and seafarers.
Also Read: OWWA Scholarships and Training Programs
Founded in 1977, OWWA has been serving as a helping hand to OFWs and their families. It was formerly known as the Welfare and Training Fund for Overseas Workers. At present, OWWA has established 31 posts abroad in 27 countries across the world. The agency assists OFWs with pre-departure, deployment abroad, and reintegration. OWWA offers a membership program for US$25 with a 2-year validity, which entitles its members and dependents to cash aid programs.
Cash Aid Programs of OWWA for OFWs and Seafarers
Here are the following cash aid programs OFWs, both land-based and sea-based, can benefit from OWWA membership:
Balik Pinas Program
One of the livelihood assistance from OWWA is the “Balik Pinas! Balik Hanapbuhay!” program. It is for displaced or distressed returning OFWs that provide up to P20,000 cash assistance. This program aims to help OFWs by funding start-ups or additional capital for livelihood projects. The “Balik Pinas! Balik Hanapbuhay!” program has also helped many OFWs to kick off small businesses.
Balik Pinay Program
Another livelihood assistance OWWA offers to OFWs is the “Balik Piinay! Balik Hanapbuhay!.” program. It aims to assist displaced or distressed women OFWs by providing cash assistance of up to P10,000, which they can use for livelihood projects. Apart from the cash aid, qualified beneficiaries of the program will receive starter kits and livelihood training to hone skills essential to business. The primary objective of this program is to assist women OFWs in starting their businesses.
Since natural calamities, like typhoons, flooding, or earthquakes, are inevitable, OWWA also extends financial assistance to OFW members and their immediate families. Under OWWA Calamity Assistance, qualified beneficiaries and their families will receive a one-time financial grant worth P3,000 in case of natural disasters.
Death and Burial Benefits
The membership program OWWA offers serves as insurance to its members. That’s why active OWWA members are entitled to Death and Burial Benefits. OWWA offers financial assistance worth P100,000 to eligible beneficiaries of OWWA members who died due to natural causes. Meanwhile, families of OWWA members who died of accidents will receive P200,000 cash assistance.
In addition, the deceased families of OWWA members will receive another P20,000 to cover the burial expenses. Through this cash aid, OWWA assists the surviving family in recovering and supplements the family’s income. It’s also applicable for OWWA members who died due to Covid-19.
Most OFWs serve as their family’s breadwinners, and if they suddenly suffer from disabilities, OWWA also assists their members. With the Disability Benefits OWWA provides, eligible OFW members will receive a cash aid worth P100,000 in the event of total permanent disability. If ever the OFW member is partially disabled, they will also receive cash aid from OWWA worth P50,000.
DOLE-AKAP Cash Assistance
Launched by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), the DOLE-AKAP program intends to assist OFWs who did not receive their salaries or has lost their jobs due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Qualified beneficiaries will receive a one-time financial grant worth US$200 or P10,000 each. This program also applies to repatriated OFWs, those unable to return for overseas employment, and OFWs who tested positive for the Covid-19 pandemic but did not receive assistance from OWWA. OFWs who did not receive any financial aid from their employer or government host country may also qualify for the program.
Education and Livelihood Assistance Program
The Education and Livelihood Assistance Program (ELAP) from OWWA intends to assist the spouse and children of deceased OFWs. Under ELAP, a qualified child dependent of the deceased OFW will receive educational assistance amounting to P5,000 for elementary, P8,000 for high school, and P10,000 for college students. Apart from that, the surviving spouse will receive livelihood assistance amounting to P15,000.
Education for Development Scholarship Program (EDSP)
For qualified dependents of OFWs taking up a bachelor’s degree, take advantage of the Education for Development Scholarship Program (EDSP). It’s an OWWA scholarship project for OFW dependents who are incoming 1st-year college (not over 21 years old) or already enrolled in 2nd to 5th-year college (not over 30 years old) during the application. The EDSP provides qualified beneficiaries educational assistance worth P60,000 maximum per school year until they finish their 4 to 5-year baccalaureate course in any university or college in the Philippines.
Mariner’s Dugtong Aral (MDA) Program
The Mariner’s Dugtong Aral (MDA) is another scholarship program from OWWA. It’s derived from the Tagalog word “Dugtong”, which means “bridging”, hence the name. This scholarship program is for seafarers and their eligible dependents that have completed a degree in BS Mechanical Engineering (BSME) and BS Electrical Engineering (BSEE) and would like to take up BS Marine Engineering (BSMarE) course. Moreover, it is for active OWWA member seafarers, immediate dependents of active or former OWWA members (land-based or sea-based), and OFWs next of kin to the first degree of consanguinity.
The MEDPLUS Program or also referred to as the Supplemental Medical Assistance for OFWs is another project from OWWA that aims to provide additional medical aid to OFWs suffering from alarming illnesses. It is for OFWs with active OWWA membership and those with Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) contributions, whether in the Philippines or abroad. In particular, the medical aid for this program is similar to the PhilHealth benefits rate system. However, each member will only receive up to P50,000 maximum medical assistance.
OFW Dependents Scholarship Program (ODSP)
The OFW Dependents Scholarship Program (ODSP) is another educational assistance from OWWA specifically offered to the dependents of OFWs with a salary not exceeding US$600 per month. Under the ODSP, the qualified beneficiaries of the said OFWs will receive P20,000 in educational assistance per school year. Furthermore, this program aims to assist beneficiaries in completing their associate’s or bachelor’s degree in any state college or university in the Philippines.
The ODSP applies to the child of married OFWs and siblings of single OFWs, given the applicant is not over 21 years old for incoming 1st-year college and not over 30 years old if already enrolled or continuing their college studies.
Project EASE Scholarship
The Education Assistance thru Scholarship Emergencies or Project EASE is an educational assistance OWWA provides to eligible college-level dependents of displaced or distressed OFWs and those who lost their jobs due to the Covid-19 pandemic. With Project EASE, qualified beneficiaries will receive education aid worth P10,000 per school year for up to 4 years maximum. This program applies to dependents of OFWs with active OWWA membership status when repatriated to the Philippines due to the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak on February 2020.
Seafarer’s Upgrading Program (SUP)
Aside from the Mariner’s Dugtong Aral (MDA) Program, OWWA also offers the Seafarer’s Upgrading Program (SUP), which is a scholarship program for Filipino seafarers. This program intends to assist Filipino seafarers to enhance and broaden their knowledge to remain competitive and comply with the International Maritime Organizations standards. SUP provides short-term training programs related to maritime jobs, which amount to a minimum of P1,200 up to P7,500 maximum per course. Also, it includes transportation and meal allowances for applicants introduced to the National Maritime Polytechnic (NMP).
Skills for Employment Scholarship Program (SESP)
The Skills for Employment Scholarship Program (SESP) is an OWWA educational training assistance designed for OFWs and their eligible dependents. It provides a scholarship grant of up to P14,500 per training course in any Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) accredited school. This program aims to improve OFWs and their dependents’ technical and vocational skills necessary for employment.
Tabang OFW Scholarship
The Tabang OFW Scholarship is another educational assistance from OWWA for college-level dependents of OFWs. It’s a program in collaboration with OWWA, DOLE, and Commission on Higher Education (CHED) in response to the government’s Unified Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education Act (UNIFAST). This program is for the college-level dependents of OFWs who have lost their jobs, repatriated, or died due to the Covid-19 pandemic, providing a one-time scholarship grant worth P30,000.
Tulong PUSO Program
The Tulong Pangkabuhayan sa Pag-unlad ng Samahang OFWs (PUSO) Program is an OWWA livelihood project. It aims to assist in the expansion, improvement, or restoration of OFW organization’s livelihood projects. Through the Tulong PUSO Program, an OFW organization will receive a one-time livelihood grant, including equipment, tools, raw materials, and support services. Additionally, the assistance can reach up to P1,000,000 given that the OFW organization exceeds 51 members and based on the requirements of their livelihood project.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to get financial assistance from OWWA?
To avail of financial assistance, you may visit the OWWA Regional Welfare Office (RWO), which covers your permanent address, or the designated Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in your host country. You may also contact OWWA for more details.
How much is the OWWA financial assistance?
OWWA offers varying financial assistance to OFW members and their families, including medical, educational, calamity, and livelihood. The financial aid OWWA offers ranges from P1,200 up to P1,000,000 depending on the program you wish to avail of and given you meet the qualifications.
Also Read: How to Get OWWA Loan for OFWs and Seafarers
To sum up, the OWWA membership will benefit a lot of OFWs and their families with loads of cash aid programs they can avail from OWWA, from educational, medical, and livelihood assistance. OWWA also provides other benefits that can help its members and their families, such as calamity or sudden death of the OFW OWWA member.
Thus, OFWs should ensure they have active OWWA membership to keep their selves and their families insured, especially during unfortunate and unexpected circumstances.
OWWA Central Office
Address: OWWA Center Building, F.B. Harrison St, Pasay, Metro Manila
NCR Hotline: 09666250016
Reintegration Unit: 8834-0719
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/OWWAofficial