Seafarers and OFWs are modern-day heroes. Our remittances help not only our family but our country as well.
Thus, our government initiates different programs like cash assistance, financial projects, accidents disabilities, and welfare to help them in many ways.
Whether settling for good in our country, education, repatriation, or social benefits, our government has the right aid for us.
These benefits extend to our dependents too. Some of them are cash loans, financial grants, medical assistance, and livelihood projects.
The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration is the governing arm in promoting them. Check out which assistance is suited to you right now.
Programs and Benefits Designed for OFWs and Seafarers
Some of these programs existed during the pandemic to help our OFWs whose employment is affected due to lockdowns.
Now that the country has defeated the pandemic, some of these benefits no longer exist. I made a note to some of them.
Other projects, on the other hand, existed for many years already. It’s time for you to know them so you can avail of the benefits specifically designed for you.
Lesser known as DOLE-OWWA-AKAP, this program provides financial assistance of Php10,000 or USD200.00 to OFWs and seafarers displaced from their jobs because of COVID-19 starting February 2020.
It was initiated last November 2020 through DOLE’s Department Order No. 220. More than Php2B worth of cash assistance has been given already.
This program no longer exists.
2. Project EASE
Educational Assistance by Scholarship in Emergencies or Project EASE is another pandemic program. As the name suggests, it is an educational assistance dedicated to a qualified dependent of OWWA members.
A cash grant of Php10,000.00 per annum will be given to the dependent for a maximum of 4 years at the college level.
Aside from OWWA scholarships, you can also check out some maritime scholarships here in the Philippines.
3. Tabang OFW
Tertiary Education Subsidy for Dependents of Repatriated OFWs (Tabang OFW) is a one-time cash grant of Php30,000.00.
This educational assistance is given to a qualified college-level dependent of an OFW member who lost his job due to the pandemic.
However, this program was only active for the Academic Year 2020-2021 as per OWWA’s website.
This program no longer exists.
4. Tuloy-Aral Project (TAP)
Not all families of former OFWs manage to stay above the poverty line. To help their children pursue studies, the Tuloy-Aral Project was born in December 2004.
TAP seeks help from successful and financially stable OFWs to become volunteer donors giving USD100.00 per year to the beneficiary. This amount will help fund their school expenses.
5. OWWA Rebate Program
If you are an OWWA Member who hasn’t availed any of these membership benefits for more than 10 years already, you are entitled to an OWWA Rebate.
Take note that this is not a cashback or refund of all your contribution but a percentage of it only.
6. OWWA ‘Uwian Na’ Mobile Application
An initiative made during the start of the pandemic, this registration portal helps OWWA facilitate arriving OFWs by providing them with the right quarantine hotel upon arrival.
All you need to do is head over to the OWWA site, find the Uwian Na resource, fill out the form, and wait for a confirmation from OWWA.
This program no longer exists.
7. Balik Pinas! Balik Hanapbuhay! Program
Returning OFWs who are distressed and displaced shall be given a livelihood capital of Php20,000.00.
Losing the job, this amount provides immediate relief so he or she can start any livelihood project of his or her choice.
8. Tulong PUSO
Tulong Pangkabuhayan sa Pag-unlad ng Samahang OFWs (Tulong – PUSO) is another cash assistance given to OFWs.
Only this time, it is for businesses registered in DOLE, CDA, and SEC. Additionally, 80% of its members must be OFW members or their immediate family.
A one-time livelihood financial grant between Php150K to Php1M to the qualified business or business start-up depending on the size of its members.
9. OFW Enterprise Development and Loan Program (OFW-EDLP)
OFWs who seriously plan on building a business may avail of this loan program.
Formerly the OFW-Reintegration Program (ORP), this initiative works hand in hand with the Land Bank (LBP) and Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) to support developing enterprises from our OFWs.
Do note that this is a loan and not a cash grant. Therefore, you will be required to pay back the loan between one to seven years.
10. Repatriation Assistance Program
Sometimes, really bad things happen in the country we work in. Civil unrest, war, or natural calamities, these events disrupt the normal way OFWs work.
That’s why, OWWA introduced Repatriation Assistance Program to expedite the return of our overseas Filipinos.
Also known as Emergency Repatriation, it hastens the processes needed for bringing back distressed OFWs including human remains.
11. Pre-Departure Education Program
Most commonly known as the Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar or PDOS, this program aims to give OFWs initial knowledge about the country of destination or the place they will be working.
Travel tips, the health profile of that country, life abroad to differences in culture, tradition, and religion are discussed here.
12. Scholarships For Dependents
Our government takes care of OFWs and their dependents as well through OWWA. Scholarships for Dependents have three sub-categories.
Check out which of them fits the needs of your kid or dependent.
a. Education for Development Scholarship Program (EDSP)
Php60,000.00 scholarship grant per school year for qualified dependents undergoing a bachelor’s degree.
The selection process is via DOST examination. There will only be a total of 1,000 students for this program, 600 of which are for freshmen and 400 for those already enrolled in college.
b. OFW Dependent Scholarship Program (ODSP)
If an OFW member receives less than USD600.00 in salary per month, his dependent is entitled to have Php20,000.00 financial assistance per school year.
He or she can take four or five-year baccalaureate courses in any college or university.
c. Education and Livelihood Assistance Program for the Dependents of Deceased OFW Members (ELAP)
We all know that working abroad has risks and it’s not all a happy ending. Issues like incarceration, conviction, or even death occur to some of our migrant workers.
That’s why, OWWA gives livelihood assistance of Php15,000.00 and educational assistance of up to Php10,000.00 to beneficiaries of the OFW member.
13. Seafarer’s Upgrading Program (SUP)
As a seafarer myself, training is one of the most expensive parts of being a seaman. However, continuous employment means continuous training.
The Seafarer’s Upgrading Program is basically a Php7,500.00 cash grant for seafarer’s training.
14. Short-Term Training Programs For OFWs & Dependents
This program consists of two sub-trainings that you can choose from.
a. Skills for Employment Scholarship Program (SESP)
Open to OFW members and their qualified dependents, this is a short-term (six months to two years) training program on any technical or vocational course.
The school or university must be accredited by MARINA, TESDA, and other government training institutions.
OWWA will shoulder a maximum of Php14,500.00 per training course.
b. Information Technology (IT) Training Program
Since technology is rapidly changing the way we live, a basic computer literacy training program is also available.
15. Disability & Dismemberment
A Php100,000.00 disability/ dismemberment benefit to a member for injuries incurred while working abroad.
16. Supplementary Medical Assistance (MEDplus)
OWWA members who are also Philhealth members stricken with deadly diseases resulting in hospitalization shall receive medical relief of up to Php50,000.00
17. Death & Burial
Beneficiaries of this aid will receive the benefits. It branches into two.
a. Death Benefit
The beneficiary shall receive Php100,000.00 if the OFW member dies of natural cause or Php200,000.00 for deaths caused by accident.
b. Burial Gratuity
Additionally, OWWA will give Php20,000.00 to the beneficiaries to ensure a decent burial.
18. Welfare Assistance Program (WAP)
For OWWA Members, whether active or inactive, who are unable to claim or participate in any of the above benefits, this is for you!
Some of the assistance they provide under WAP are as follows:
- Calamity assistance
- Bereavement assistance
- Disability assistance
- Medical assistance
- Relief assistance
Which OWWA benefits are you planning to avail of?
May the winds be in your favor.