OWWA Benefits Guide: 8 Ways to Maximize Your OWWA Membership

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Published on: December 15, 2020 Last updated: December 23, 2020

OWWA Benefits for OFWs | Moneymax

As an OFW, it’s reassuring to know that help will be on its way when you need it, like when you’re having employment-related problems and concerns while working abroad.

That’s what the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) is for. This government agency is mandated to develop and implement programs that protect your rights as an OFW. If you become an OWWA member, you can avail of different forms of financial assistance and other OWWA benefits before, during, and after your overseas employment.

Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you make the most of your OWWA membership.

OWWA Benefits for OFWs

1. OWWA Loan for OFW

owwa benefits - owwa loan for ofw

What is OWWA OFW Loan?

The OWWA loan for OFW members, officially called the Overseas Filipino Workers – Enterprise Development and Loan Program (OFW-EDLP), is a business loan that allows OFWs and their families to borrow money at a low interest rate for starting a business.

Part of OWWA’s reintegration program, the OWWA loan is provided to balik manggagawa or returning OFWs and those currently working abroad.

OWWA Loan Features

  • Loan purpose: Working capital (for financing day-to-day operations) and fixed asset acquisition (for funding production or supply of goods or services)
  • Project cost-sharing:
    • Borrower’s equity: At least 20% of the total project cost
    • OWWA OFW loan: Up to 80% of the total project cost
  • Loan amount:
    • For single proprietors: PHP 100,000 to PHP 2 million
    • For partnerships, corporations, and cooperatives: PHP 100,000 to PHP 5 million
  • Interest rate: 7.5% per annum
  • Loan terms:
    • Short-term: Up to 1 year
    • Term loan: Based on cash loan up to 7 years
  • Collateral: Object of financing, mortgageable project assets (machines or equipment), and other borrower’s assets

OWWA Loan Requirements

Eligibility Requirements

  • Active or non-active OWWA member
  • Has a viable project, whether new or existing, such as franchising, production, manufacturing, construction, rental, or transport service business
  • Has completed OWWA’s Enhanced Entrepreneurial Development Training (EEDT)
  • For OFWs working abroad or about to leave: Represented by the legal spouse (for married OFWs) or parents up to 60 years old/children at least 18 years old (for single, widow, or separated OFWs)

Document Requirements

  • OWWA certification that you’re a bonafide OFW and has completed the EEDT
  • Business plan for your specific project
  • DTI Certificate of Business Name Registration
  • Bio-data
  • Business Permit/Mayor’s Permit
  • Income tax return (ITR) for the last 3 years, if applicable
  • BIR-filed Financial Statements for the last 3 years, if applicable
  • Latest Interim Financial Statement, if applicable
  • Statement of Assets and Liabilities

How to Apply for OWWA Loan

Visit the nearest OWWA office[1] and attend the training on entrepreneurial development.
Go to the nearest LANDBANK branch or lending center to submit the OWWA loan requirements and undergo an evaluation of your project proposal.

Read more: SSS Salary Loan and Housing Loan: A Guide for OFWs

2. OWWA Rebate Program

owwa benefits - owwa rebate program

What is OWWA Rebate Program for OFW?

The OWWA Rebate Program grants rebates to long-time OWWA members in recognition of their contribution to the OWWA Fund. The rebate that OWWA pays is a percentage of the total amount an OFW-member has contributed—it is not a refund or a cashback of the entire OWWA contribution.

How Much is the Rebate from OWWA?

The amount you’ll receive as a rebate from OWWA will depend on the number of contributions you’ve made. If you’ve made at least five contributions, you’ll earn the minimum rebate of PHP 941.25. Your rebate can be as much as PHP 13,177.50 if you’ve paid 70 contributions to OWWA.

Number of ContributionsOWWA Rebate
5PHP 941.25
6PHP 1,129.50
7PHP 1,317.75
8PHP 1,506
9PHP 1,694.25
10PHP 1,882.50
20PHP 3,765
30PHP 5,647.50
40PHP 7,530
50PHP 9,412.50
60PHP 11,295
70PHP 13,177.50

OWWA Rebate Program Requirements

Eligibility Requirements

  • OFW who has been an OWWA member for at least 10 years with at least five contributions paid and has never availed of any benefits or services
  • Legal beneficiary of a deceased and qualified OFW

Document Requirements

  • Appointment code
  • Valid government-issued ID
  • Additional requirements for authorized representatives:
    • Authorization letter from the OFW
    • Proof of relationship with the OFW (e.g., birth certificate, marriage certificate, etc.)
    • Valid ID of the OFW and the authorized representative
  • Additional requirements for OFWs with a serious illness:
    • Medical certificate
    • Signed or thumb-marked authorization letter from the OFW
    • Proof of relationship with the OFW
    • Valid ID of the OFW and the authorized representative
  • Additional requirements for beneficiaries of deceased OFWs:
    • OFW’s death certificate
    • Proof of relationship with the OFW
    • Valid ID of the OFW and the authorized representative

OWWA Rebate Program Online Registration Steps

  1. Access the OWWA Rebate Program verification form at rebate.owwa.gov.ph and fill it out.
  2. Click the Inquire button. If you’re qualified for the OWWA rebate program, the amount you’ll receive from OWWA will be displayed on the screen.
  3. Select a date, time, and OWWA Regional Welfare Office to set your appointment. You’ll receive an appointment code via SMS
  4. Go to your chosen OWWA office on your day of appointment.
  5. Present your appointment code and valid ID for verification.
  6. Provide the details of your bank account where your rebate from OWWA will be transferred.

Your application for the OWWA Rebate Program will undergo verification on your appointment date. Your rebate will be credited to your bank account after one banking day.

Read more: Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC): A Complete Guide for OFWs

3. OWWA Welfare Assistance Program

owwa benefits - owwa welfare assistance program

What is OWWA Welfare Assistance Program for OFW?

The OWWA Welfare Assistance Program is a financial assistance given to active or non-active OFW members or their families who are not qualified for any benefits and services.

What Does the OWWA Cash Assistance Cover?

Under its Welfare Assistance Program, OWWA provides financial aid to OFWs and their dependents for different purposes, including the following:

  • Calamity Assistance – Cash assistance paid to OWWA members affected by natural disasters such as typhoons and earthquakes (PHP 1,000 for active; PHP 500 for inactive) or man-made disasters (PHP 3,000 for active; PHP 1,500 for inactive)
  • Medical Assistance – Given to OWWA members with diseases not covered by the MEDplus Program and those who are injured due to a crime or accident
  • Bereavement Assistance – PHP 20,000 paid to families of deceased inactive OWWA members
  • Relief Assistance – Granted to OWWA members who were laid-off due to economic, political, and/or health crises

How to Apply for OWWA Welfare Assistance

Visit or contact the nearest OWWA Regional Welfare Office (for OFWs currently in the Philippines) or Philippine Overseas Labor Office/POLO (for OFWs working abroad) to inquire about the requirements and procedures for claiming cash benefits under the OWWA Welfare Assistance Program.

4. OWWA Medical Assistance

owwa benefits - owwa medical assistance

What is OWWA Medical Assistance for OFW?

The OWWA medical assistance program is a one-time supplemental financial assistance for active OWWA members and OFW PhilHealth members who are diagnosed with a dreaded disease and are hospitalized while in the Philippines or abroad.

Also called the MEDplus Program for OFWs, the OWWA medical assistance is given on top of an OFW’s PhilHealth benefits. Even though it provides similar benefits to OFW health insurance, it is not a health maintenance organization (HMO) in itself, according to OWWA.

What are the OWWA Benefits for Hospitalization?

The OWWA medical assistance program covers medical and surgical procedures worth up to PHP 50,000 for dreaded diseases such as heart diseases, chronic kidney disease, liver diseases like hepatitis, and all forms of cancer.

The benefits for hospitalization through MEDplus are valid for only one originally diagnosed dreaded disease. But you may be allowed to avail of the OWWA medical assistance multiple times if you did not use up the case rate for a dreaded disease during your first availment.

OWWA Medical Assistance Requirements

  • Accomplished MEDplus application form
  • One passport-size photo
  • Valid passport
  • Valid ID (government-issued or company-issued)
  • Proof of OWWA membership contribution (e.g., OFW membership record, OWWA O.R., etc.)
  • PhilHealth Member Data Record (MDR)
  • Medical certificate
  • For family members claiming for an OFW based abroad: Notarized Special Power of Attorney
  • For family members claiming for a deceased OFW: OFW’s death certificate issued by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) and birth certificate/marriage certificate of the claimant

How to Apply for OWWA Medical Assistance for OFW

You can avail of the MEDplus program within your OWWA membership validity period. But you’re still covered within 60 days after the expiry of your membership with OWWA.

To avail of the MEDplus benefits for hospitalization, visit the nearest OWWA Regional Office and submit the OWWA medical assistance requirements. Processing a MEDplus application takes three days after submission of complete documents and confirmation of PhilHealth benefit payment.

Read more related articles:

5. OWWA Disability Benefits

owwa benefits - owwa disability benefits

What are OWWA Disability Benefits for OFW?

The OWWA Disability and Dismemberment Benefit is cash assistance given to OWWA members with a partial or total permanent disability due to an accident.

OWWA benefits for disability/dismemberment are worth PHP 2,500 to PHP 25,000 for partial disability and PHP 50,000 to PHP 100,000 for total permanent disability.

OWWA Disability Benefits Requirements

  • Passport or Seaman’s Identification Record Book
  • One 1×1 ID picture
  • OFW Membership Record
  • Foreign medical certificate with English translation
  • Medical certificate with medical examination procedure (e.g X-ray, MRI, CT scan, etc.) issued by an attending physician in the Philippines
  • For seafarers: Accident Report/Master’s Report
  • For authorized representatives: OFW’s authorization letter and valid ID, plus the claimant’s valid ID

How to Apply for OWWA Disability Benefits

To make a claim for disability, go to the nearest OWWA office and submit the OWWA disability benefits requirements.

6. OWWA Death Benefits

What are OWWA Death Benefits for OFW?

The OWWA Death Benefit is cash assistance paid to family members of active OWWA members who have died within the duration of their employment contract.

OWWA death benefits include PHP 100,000 for death due to natural causes or PHP 200,000 for accidental death. In addition to that, OWWA pays a burial benefit worth PHP 20,000 to a deceased OFW’s legal beneficiaries for the funeral costs.

OWWA Death Benefit Claim Requirements

  • Passport or Seaman’s Identification Record Book
  • Original local or foreign death certificate
  • Police report, if death is due to an accident
  • OFW Membership Record
  • For OFWs who died abroad: Foreign death certificate with Airway Bill and Consular Mortuary Certificate or No Objection Certificate
  • For death due to an accident: Accident Report
  • Burial permit and official receipt of funeral expenses
  • Two valid IDs and one 1×1 ID photo of the claimant
  • Affidavit of Undertaking for Death Benefit Claim executed by the claimant
  • Any applicable document issued by the PSA or LCR:
    • For unmarried OFWs: Certificate of No Marriage (CENOMAR) of OFW
    • Spouse of a deceased OFW: Marriage certificate
    • Parent of a deceased OFW: OFW’s birth certificate
    • Child of a deceased OFW: Child’s birth certificate and deceased spouse’s death certificate

How to Claim OWWA Death Benefits

Gather all the required documents that support your claim for your deceased OFW’s OWWA death benefits and submit them to the nearest OWWA Regional Office.

7. OWWA Education and Training Programs

owwa benefits - owwa education and training benefits

These benefits consist of five regular scholarship programs that are available for active OWWA members or their designated beneficiaries to meet their different educational or training needs.

To inquire or avail of any cash assistance for education from OWWA, simply visit the nearest OWWA office.

a. Education for Development Scholarship Program (EDSP)

What it is: Scholarship for qualified beneficiaries of active OWWA members who will or are taking a four-year or five-year baccalaureate course in any college or university

OWWA financial assistance: Up to PHP 60,000 per school year

Eligibility requirements:

  • Single and not older than 21 years old (for incoming freshmen) or 30 years old (for 2nd to 5th year students)
  • For incoming freshmen:
    • At least 80% average grade and among the top 20% of the graduating class
    • Among the top 400 DOST-OWWA examination passers
  • For 2nd to 5th year students: General weighted average (GWA) of not lower than B letter grade or 85% equivalent in all academic and non-academic subjects during the last school year

Document requirements:

  • Accomplished EDSP application form[2]
  • Two 2×2 ID photos with name tag
  • Proof of relationship to OWWA member (e.g., birth certificate, marriage certificate, CENOMAR)
  • OFW Membership Record
  • At least one valid ID of the OFW and/or authorized representative
  • Certificate of Good Moral Character
  • Medical certificate from any DOH-accredited hospital or clinic
  • For incoming freshmen:
    • Form 137 / Certified true copy of Form 138
    • Notice from RWOs of qualifying the DOST-OWWA Pre-Qualifying Examination for EDSP
  • For 2nd to 5th year students: Transcript of Records / Certificate of Grades

b. OFW Dependent Scholarship Program (ODSP)

What it is: Scholarship for qualified beneficiaries of active OWWA members who will or are taking a baccalaureate or associate degree in any CHED-accredited college or university and whose parents receive a monthly salary of USD 600 or less

OWWA financial assistance: PHP 20,000 per school year

Eligibility requirements:

  • Single and not older than 21 years old (for incoming freshmen) or 30 years old (for 2nd to 5th year students)
  • Passed the entrance examination by a college/university where the student intends to enroll
  • Not a recipient of any other scholarships

Document requirements:

  • Accomplished ODSP application form
  • Two 2×2 ID photos with name tag
  • Proof of relationship to OWWA member (e.g., birth certificate, marriage certificate, CENOMAR)
  • OFW Membership Record
  • At least one valid ID of the OFW and/or authorized representative
  • Form 137 / Certified true copy of Form 138 (for incoming freshmen) or Transcript of Records or
  • Certificate of Grades (for 2nd to 5th year students)
  • Certificate of Good Moral Character
  • Medical certificate from any DOH-accredited hospital or clinic

c. Skills for Employment Scholarship Program (SESP)

What it is: Short-term (6 months to 2 years) training assistance for honing the vocational and technical skills of active OWWA members or their beneficiaries in any School accredited by TESDA, MARINA, and other government training institutions

OWWA financial assistance: Up to PHP 14,500 per course

Eligibility requirements:

  • Single, 18 to 24 years old
  • Alternative Learning System (ALS) passer
  • High school graduate, college undergraduate, or unemployed college graduate

Document requirements:

  • Accomplished SESP application form[2]
  • Two 2×2 ID pictures
  • At least two valid IDs
  • Proof of relationship to OWWA member (e.g., birth certificate, marriage certificate, CENOMAR)
  • Original diploma, Form 137, High School Report Card, or Transcript of Records

d. Seafarer’s Upgrading Program (SUP)

What it is: Job-related training assistance for upgrading the skills of Filipino seafarers

OWWA financial assistance: Up to PHP 7,500

Requirements:

  • Accomplished SUP application form[2]
  • Two 2×2 ID photos
  • Proof of OWWA membership (e.g., Official Receipt of OWWA contribution, OFW e-Card, Seaman’s Book, POEA-authenticated employment contract)
  • Original passport or Seaman’s Identification Record Book

e. Education and Livelihood Assistance Program (ELAP)

What it is: Educational and livelihood assistance for family members of deceased OFWs who were active OWWA members at the time of death, including convicted OFWs facing the death penalty in their host country

OWWA financial assistance:

  • Scholarship – Allowance of PHP 5,000 for elementary, PHP 8,000 for high school, and PHP 10,000 for college per school year given to one child (usually the eldest) of a deceased OFW
  • Livelihood assistance – Kabuhayan package worth PHP 15,000 given to the surviving spouse or parent

Requirements:

  • OFW Membership Record
  • Proof of relationship to OWWA member (e.g., birth certificate, marriage certificate, CENOMAR)
  • Two 2×2 ID photos with name tag
  • OFW’s death certificate
  • OWWA Entrepreneurial Development Training Certificate
  • Business plan
  • Form 137/138, Transcript of Record, or Certificate of Grades
  • Certificate of Good Moral Character
  • Medical certificate from any DOH-accredited hospital or clinic

8. OWWA Benefits for Ex OFW

owwa benefits - owwa benefits for ex ofw

Returning and former OFWs—even if they’re no longer working abroad—are entitled to certain benefits. For ex-OFW members, OWWA provides the repatriation and reintegration benefits that will help them come back home safely and start life anew in the Philippines.

a. Repatriation Assistance Program

OWWA has been helping distressed and displaced OFWs return during natural calamities, political instability, or emergencies (like the COVID-19 pandemic) in their host country to the Philippines through its Repatriation Assistance Program.

In the case of OFWs who have died while working abroad, OWWA also takes charge of assisting with bringing human remains back to their families.

The OWWA benefits for repatriated OFWs include the following:

  • Airport assistance
  • Temporary shelter
  • Free COVID-19 testing
  • Psycho-social counseling
  • Stress debriefing
  • Transport services for travel back to the OFWs’ home provinces

Repatriation Assistance Program Requirements

  • Valid original passport
  • Accomplished Intake Sheet Form
  • Employment contract or other proof of overseas
  • Travel document
  • Proof of repatriation such as boarding pass

Read more: OFW Repatriation Guide in the New Normal

b. Reintegration Program

owwa benefits - owwa benefits for ex ofw

The OWWA Reintegration Program caters to OFWs or balik manggagawas who are returning to the Philippines for good. It consists of different forms of assistance to help returning OFWs build a sustainable livelihood, so they’ll become financially self-sufficient as they ease back into a new life after years of working overseas.

Balik Pinas! Balik Hanapbuhay! Program

Two of the key benefits under the Reintegration Program are the OWWA OFW loan and the Balik Pinas! Balik Hanapbuhay! (BPBH) Program. The BPBH is a livelihood assistance package worth up to PHP 20,000 that returning OFWs may use for self-employment or as a start-up or additional capital for a business.

Eligibility requirements:

Active and inactive OWWA members may apply for the BPBH Program if they belong to any of these groups:

  • OFWs who lost their job due to political unrest or war in their host country
  • Victims of illegal recruitment, human trafficking, or physical, verbal, and/or sexual abuse
  • Distressed OFWs under the care of Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Resource Centers while waiting for their repatriation
  • Laid-off OFWs due to employer’s financial difficulties

Document requirements:

  • Accomplished BPBH application form with notarized Affidavit of Undertaking
  • Certificate of OWWA Entrepreneurial Development Training attendance
  • Business plan approved by an OWWA Regional Welfare Office Director indicating sustainability/feasibility of the chosen livelihood project or business
  • Proof of repatriation or return to the Philippines (e.g., passport, travel documents, airline ticket)
Special Educational Assistance Projects

Apart from its regular scholarship grants, OWWA also provides educational assistance to dependents of returning OFWs affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Application for Project EASE and Tabang OFW may be filed online through ease.owwa.gov.ph.

Project EASE

The Educational Assistance through Scholarships in Emergencies, or Project EASE for short, grants PHP 10,000 financial assistance per school year for up to four years to a qualified child of active OWWA members repatriated due to the pandemic.

Tabang OFW

Under the Tabang OFW project, a one-time PHP 30,000 cash aid is given to a dependent (college student) of a repatriated, displaced, or deceased OFW during the pandemic.

Other OWWA Benefits for Returning OFWs

  • Reintegration preparedness training – value formation, financial literacy, entrepreneurial development training, techno-skills and capacity building
  • Community organizing program
  • Business counseling
  • Job referrals
  • Social counseling
  • Family counseling
  • Stress debriefing
  • Networking opportunities with support institutions

Related: How OFWs Can Increase Their Savings and Come Back Home for Good

OWWA Membership FAQs

owwa benefits - owwa membership

1. What is OWWA?

The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) is a national government agency under the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) that protects and promotes the rights and interests of OFWs and their families—from pre-departure to their return to the Philippines.

2. How to become an OWWA member?

OFWs can apply for OWWA membership upon processing of employment contract at the POEA office. Another way to become an OWWA member is to register manually at overseas jobsites or through the POLO in the host country.

OWWA Membership/Renewal Requirements

POLOs in different countries may have different requirements for OWWA membership application, but here are the commonly required supporting documents:

  • Accomplished OFW Information Sheet[3]
  • Original and photocopy of valid passport
  • Valid employment contract or Certificate of Employment
  • Confirmed online appointment, if applicable

Related: How to Get an OFW e-Card: Guide to OFW ID Card Application

3. How many years is OWWA membership valid?

OWWA membership is valid for two years from the date of membership fee payment, regardless if the OFW changes employers or jobsites. OFWs may renew their OWWA membership every two years.

4. How much is the OWWA membership fee?

OFWs who want to become an OWWA member must pay the membership fee of USD 25 (or its equivalent in the host country’s currency) for their contribution to the OWWA Fund.

5. Where to pay OWWA membership fee?

You may pay your OWWA membership or renewal fee online through the LANDBANK Link.BizPortal[4] using your LANDBANK or BancNet-member ATM account. When paying through the LANDBANK ePayment portal, select “OVERSEAS WORKERS WELFARE ADMINISTRATION” as the merchant.

If applying at a POLO, you may directly pay for your OWWA membership in cash directly to the cashier.

Final Thoughts

Knowing the OWWA benefits helps you not only to maximize the membership fees you’re paying but also ensure that you get financial support from the government that you’re entitled to.

To learn more about its benefits and services, you may call the OWWA Hotline 1348.

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Venus is an experienced personal finance writer with a background in digital marketing, public relations, and journalism. She's into stock, VUL, and mutual fund investing. Follow Venus on LinkedIn.