THE Social Security System (SSS) said on Thursday that it launched a new variant of its voluntary retirement savings scheme, known as the Worker’s Investment and Savings Program Plus (WISP Plus).

It said in a statement that voluntary WISP Plus scheme accepts a minimum of P500 per payment. It is an evolution of the current WISP, a mandatory provident fund which is open to all private-sector workers, including overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and the self-employed.

In June, the SSS announced that WISP generated a 6.39% return in its first year of operation, which the pension fund said outperformed the 10-year Treasury bond, which averaged 4.1% in 2021.

“We have been spearheading the concept of work, save, invest, and prosper to our members. WISP Plus is a program both for saving and investing. It is an affordable and tax-free savings scheme which will allow our members to save by contributing to the program and investing because their money will generate earnings,” SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Michael G. Regino said.

WISP Plus serves as an additional layer of protection apart from retirement benefits members receive from the regular program, Mr. Regino said.

The SSS said interested members can join WISP Plus via their My.SSS accounts.

To qualify for the program, members should not have filed for any final benefits claim, such as retirement or total disability benefits, the SSS said.

Two programs the SSS is currently implementing will be part of WISP Plus, SSS said. These are the Flexi-fund Program for OFWs, and the Personal Equity and Savings Option Fund offered to members living in the Philippines and paying maximum monthly contributions. 

Separately, Mr. Regino said in briefing that starting Jan. 1, the new SSS contribution rate will be 14%, up from the current 13% as required by the terms of the Social Security Act of 2018.

For employed members, employers will absorb the 1 percentage point increase in the contribution rate, while individual paying members, such as self-employed, voluntary, non-working spouse, and OFW members, will shoulder the whole contribution rate since they have no employers, SSS said.

Additionally, SSS said that it will also adjust the minimum and maximum monthly salary credits (MSCs), which will serve as the basis of the monthly contribution of a member.

The minimum MSC will become P4,000 from the current P3,000-P4,000 while the maximum MSC will rise to P30,000 from the current P25,000. — Aaron Michael C. Sy