One of the major benefits of being an active OWWA member includes the privilege to the agency’s social benefit programs, which cater to various events and circumstances affecting OFWs. These include health and safety concerns, death and bereavement assistance as well as emergency relief assistance.
The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) is the official service arm of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) that is mandated to promote and protect the well-being of millions of migrant Filipino workers across the globe as well as the interest of their families in the country.
While these programs take priority for active OWWA members, those with expired membership may also consider applying, since applications in these programs are on a case-to-case basis and follow certain qualifications other than membership.
The OWWA is a non-profit organization, and it provides social benefits to its members. These benefits include financial assistance, legal aid, and counseling services. The Social Benefits of OWWA is a fundamental part of the organization to ensure that workers are protected and given some form of help in the event of a crisis while working abroad.
As such, it is highly advised that OFWs sign up to be members of OWWA and maintain an active membership status to be able to avail themselves of the agency’s benefit programs for them and their families.
Death and Burial Benefits
The OWWA Death and Burial Benefit consists of a death benefit for active OWWA OFW members who have died while employed abroad, and a burial gratuity benefit for their qualified dependents to cover funeral and burial costs. The death benefit offers PhP 100,000 for deaths due to natural causes and PhP 200,000 for accidental deaths, while the burial gratuity offers PhP 20,000, to be received by the deceased OFW’s beneficiary or qualified dependent.
Applications for this program require the OFW’s formal death certificate, as well as documents certifying the OFW’s cause of death, and the beneficiary’s relationship to the OFW. However, only beneficiaries whose OFW relatives were active OWWA members at the time of death are eligible to apply for the program. Inactive OWWA OFW members or their beneficiaries may consider applying for bereavement assistance under the Welfare Assistance Program for a similar cause.
Disability and Dismemberment Assistance
The Disability and Dismemberment Assistance aims to provide immediate aid to OWWA OFW members, whether land or sea-based, who have attained significant partial or permanent injury within their employment period, which may have delayed or hindered their continuation.
Qualified beneficiaries of the program are entitled to a financial aid ranging from PhP 2,500 to PhP 25,000 for partial or temporary injuries, or between PhP 50,000 to PhP 100,000 for permanent injuries.
Although the program prioritizes active OWWA OFW members, it remains open to inactive OWWA OFW members; in both cases, the certifying documents stating the severity of the injury, necessary treatment, and medication, as well as documents from the employer stating the OFW’s discontinuation or termination of contract due to the sustained injury, must be presented upon application.
Supplementary Medical Assistance (MedPlus Program)
The Supplementary Medical Assistance, better known as the MedPlus Program, is a partnership program of OWWA and PhilHealth for OFWs who are active OWWA and PhilHealth members.
The program aims to provide financial assistance to OFWs or their beneficiaries who are suffering from dreaded diseases, such as heart diseases, liver diseases (i.e: hepatitis), chronic kidney disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and all forms of cancer, as categorized by PhilHealth, and have been duly hospitalized for the said conditions.
Beneficiaries of the program are then entitled to a cash aid not exceeding PhP 50,000 per member, on top of current PhilHealth benefits as applicable. To apply, among the important documents to present include a duly accomplished MedPlus Application Form, a copy of the PhilHealth Benefit Payment Notice, proof of active OWWA membership (i.e: official receipt), and a notarized Special Power of Attorney, as executed by the OFW, if the applicant is a beneficiary or dependent of the OFW.
Welfare Assistance Program
Lastly, the Welfare Assistance Program is an extension of OWWA’s social benefits to both active and inactive OWWA members and their qualified dependents who are not eligible to the previously mentioned programs and other Social Benefit Programs of the agency.
Benefits for the Welfare Assistance Program come in the form of cash aid in varying amounts, depending on the type of assistance, as well as the current state of the applicant, whether the OFW or their dependent, among others.
Applications for these programs are open throughout the year, with the grant varying upon the review and assessment of OWWA and concerned agencies.
Being an active member of OWWA opens a lot of opportunities for each of our OFWs, and OWWA’s social benefits are just one window among many others. As they cover for you, most especially in your times of need, with OWWA’s social benefits in mind, you can rest assured that genuine Filipino service will reach you and your families, wherever you are in the world.
So be sure to keep your tabs on your current OWWA membership status in order to avail and maximize these benefits.
For more information on OWWA’s social benefits as well as their other programs, you may visit their website at www.owwa.gov.ph or their official Facebook page at www.facebook.com/OWWAofficial. You may also opt to download the OWWA Mobile App to check and update your membership status as well as to stay connected with the OWWA community.