The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) has stepped up to provide Relief Assistance to OFWs and their families who find themselves in difficult circumstances. This is part of OWWA’s Welfare Assistance Program (WAP) that financial aid to help OFWs and their families pay for critical financial needs.
The OWWA Relief Assistance is available to all OFWs and their families in the event of an emergency or family crisis. In this article, we will discuss the eligibility requirements and process for applying for OWWA’s relief assistance.
Working abroad is a sacrifice in itself, for most Filipinos who have to leave their families in hopes of a better future. And if it’s not enough of a challenge, some of them had to endure unfortunate incidents—mishaps at work, crises in their country of employment, public health and security issues—things that are out of their control but may still hinder them in pursuing their careers. It’s in these cases that the welfare of OFWs is of utmost concern by the country.
Fortunately, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) has been providing Relief assistance in the form of one-time cash aids for OFWs who have been displaced or laid-off from their work due to crises of politics, economy, public health, or national security, as well as bankruptcy and employment issues.
This is apart from the agency’s efforts in line with the COVID-19 pandemic, and it remains open for active and inactive OWWA OFW members, especially those who do not qualify for specialized benefit programs.
So whether you are an OFW who’s been displaced for the same reasons mentioned, or you have an OFW relative who does, then OWWA’s relief assistance is the answer to their call.
The relief assistance covers OWWA OFW members, active or inactive, and their qualified dependents. A dependent, therefore, is deemed qualified for the program if he/she meets the following qualifications along with proof of relationship:
- If the OFW is married:
- A child, single and no older than 21 years of age, or those 21 years and up who have congenital or acquired disabilities, or;
- A legal spouse, if any (common-law partners do not qualify)
- If the OFW is single:
- A sibling, single and no older than 30 years of age, or;
- A parent, mother or father, who is not a PhilHealth member
Qualified applicants may apply for either medical or relief assistance upon completing the following documentary requirements:
- At least two (2) government-issued or company IDs of the applicant
- Copy of terminated employment contract, accomplished working visa, last received payslip, or any proof of displacement or termination of employment
- Certificate from OWWA-POLO office of the OFW’s job site or employer
- If the applicant is a dependent of the OFW:
- One (1) valid ID and duly signed authorization letter from the OFW, if the applicant is a dependent of the OFW
- Applicant’s proof of relationship to the OFW:
- Birth certificate of applicant, if the applicant is a child of the OFW;
- Marriage certificate, if the applicant is a legal spouse of the OFW;
- Birth certificate of both applicant and OFW, and a Certificate of No Marriage (CENOMAR) of OFW, if the applicant is a sibling or parent of the OFW
How to Process OWWA Relief Assistance
Once the applicant has completed all of the documentary requirements, follow these steps to complete the application process:
- Go to your designated OWWA Regional or Satellite Office, for local applicants, or the POLO OWWA office in your country of employment, for applicants abroad.
- Accomplish the necessary documentary specifications.
- Submit your requirements along with supporting documents.
- Wait for an authorized OWWA representative to respond to you regarding your application.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
You may check out these common questions and answers about the process in applying for the OWWA Relief Assistance:
1. Who is qualified to apply for relief assistance?
OFWs who have either an active or inactive OWWA membership status may apply for relief assistance.
2. Is the relief assistance different from the DOLE-AKAP Program?
Yes, the relief assistance is part of OWWA’s Welfare Assistance Program (WAP) and is open for both active and inactive OWWA OFW members, while the DOLE-AKAP is a specialized program for OFWs who have been laid off retrenched, or those who have not received their wages in light of the COVID-19 restrictions in their country of employment. Both programs, nonetheless, provide aid in the form of a one-time financial assistance.
3. Is the relief assistance a loan?
No, the relief assistance is part of the agency’s efforts to alleviate the struggle of many OFWs. As such, it is not a loan, so OFWs need not worry about paying it back.
4. Am I granted a slot upon application?
No, all applications for OWWA’s Welfare Assistance Program are subject to review and assessment by OWWA and DOLE offices as well as other concerned agencies. As such, approved applications vary in benefits.
5. How will I know if my application has been accepted?
Applicants will receive a reference number to track their application status. Approved applications will be announced on the OWWA official website and Facebook page, and applicants will be notified via call, text, or email regarding details of their application.
In times of crisis, knowing where to seek help is half the battle, and you can most certainly depend on OWWA’s relief assistance to provide you with sufficient and necessary support to get by.
For more information regarding OWWA’s relief assistance or other programs, visit their website at www.owwa.gov.ph or their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/OWWAofficial. You may also download the OWWA Mobile App to check and update your membership and to stay connected with the OWWA community.