Overseas Workers Welfare or OWWA benefits help Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) improve their lives and welfare. You can attend short-term training programs to improve your skills through TESDA, the government agency on skills training. This skills training program also include basic computer and internet courses.
On site, the welfare agency provides various training courses to prepare you for your return to the Philippines. Such courses include skills training, money matters and training on livelihood projects.
Have you lost your job abroad? If yes, you can receive up to 10,000 pesos as aid for displaced or distressed OFWs. Livelihood, business and finance training programs prepare you for this. The welfare agency can also refer you to local jobs based on your skills.
If you are injured while working abroad, you can claim up to 100,000 pesos. For health benefits, you can avail up to 50,000 pesos as a one-time aid for a dreaded disease. This adds to your benefit as a Phil Health member.
Seafarer’s Upgrading Program (SUP). SUP aims to upgrade the knowledge and skills of seafarers through short-term courses. The courses ensure to maintain your lead in the global maritime trade. Up to 7,500 pesos await you as training assistance. You can avail SUP once every after three valid memberships.
Mariner’s Dugtong-Aral (MDA). This is a grant for graduates who want to take up Marine Engineering. You can get this grant for boarding an ocean vessel as a skilled marine officer. But this requires a degree in mechanical or electrical engineering.
Cadetship Program. The top 200 graduates who pass the Maritime School Assessment Program receive 30,000 pesos each. Only BS Marine Transportation and BS Marine Engineering graduates take this program. This amount helps process the papers in boarding a vessel.
"Study Now, Pay Later" Program. Current sailors taking up maritime degrees can apply for this loan program. The program intends to finance the schooling of future marine officers and engineers. The loan is interest-free.
The SUP is on-going while the other programs are under review. I will update you when the implementing rules of the new OWWA law takes effect.
Your spouse or legal dependent can avail a business loan of up to 2 Million pesos. This will help finance your business project while you are still working abroad. Or apply for this on your return or when you retire. The budget comes from the 2 Billion Reintegration Fund.
Your qualified children can get support for their college degrees. They can also apply for short-term training programs to improve their skills, and basic computer and internet courses. In case of your death, they get support up to college level.
For natural cause of death, your heirs will get 100,000 pesos. Death by accident doubles the amount to 200,000 pesos. PHP20,000 for burial expenses also comes with the package. And your spouse will receive 15,000 pesos to start a livelihood project.
You will need to apply at any OWWA office. The most basic papers include your (1) OFW Membership Verification Sheet, (2) Passport/Seafarer’s ID and Record Book, and (3) marriage certificate or birth records of your children. Also, check the various forms here.
Other papers depend on the benefit. For instance, you should submit a business plan, and other papers to prove your honest intention, for business loans. Former OFWs can also apply for business loans. For disability claim, submit medical and accident reports. The scholarship program requires school records, among others.
To sum up, you need proper and valid papers to support your claim. Note that all claims will be screened. Only valid claimants will receive benefits.
These OWWA benefits may change with the passage of a new law to improve the welfare agency. Let us keep an eye on the rules to implement the law. OFWs deserve better.
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OWWA benefits for OFW-members, seamen or seafarers and their dependents include scholarship programs, financial assistance, health benefits and free training courses.
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