Are you a solo parent or do you know people who are raising their children by themselves? If so, then you should learn more about Republic Act (R.A.) No. 11861 or the “Expanded Solo Parents’ Welfare Act,” which amended R.A. No. 8972 or the Solo Parents’ Welfare Act of 2000.
Also Read: How to Apply for a Solo Parent ID
Recently, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Erwin Tulfo announced the creation of a technical working group that would draft the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of R.A. No. 11861. This includes the addition of more benefits, including financial assistance, tax exemptions, and priority services for solo parents. Keep on reading to know more about it!
What is DSWD Solo Parent Cash Assistance?
Cash assistance is just one of the benefits offered to solo parents who are earning minimum wage or below, as stated in R.A. No. 11861. Aside from financial aid, solo parents are entitled to other benefits and services that could help ease their day-to-day lives.
Benefits of Solo Parents Under R.A. No. 11861
Under the Expanded Solo Parents’ Welfare Act or R.A. No. 11861, a solo parent who is earning minimum wage or below is entitled to the following benefits:
- PHP 1,000 monthly cash subsidy of PHP 1,000 from the Local Government Unit (LGU), provided that he/she is not a beneficiary of other cash assistance programs;
- 10% discount and exemption from value-added tax (VAT) on baby’s milk, food, micronutrient supplements, diapers, prescribed medicines, vaccines, and other medical supplements from the child’s birth up to 6 years of age;
- 7-day parental leave for working solo parents;
- Automatic PhilHealth coverage for solo parents and their children;
- Priority in low-cost housing projects of the National Housing Authority (NHA);
- Access to scholarship programs through the Department of Education (DepEd), Commission on Higher Education (CHED), and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), subject to eligibility and qualifications;
- Priority in re-entering the workforce;
- Priority in the selection of new beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), if the solo parent has children in school and is earning minimum wage or below; and
- Eligibility for joining the Sustainable Livelihood Program of the DSWD.
NOTE: One (1) child of the solo parent may also avail of scholarship programs, provided that he/she is below 22 years old and meets the program qualifications.
What exactly is a “solo parent?” Does it simply refer to a biological parent who is raising his/her child alone, or does it also apply to relatives and legal guardians?
According to Section 3(a) of R.A. No. 8972 or the Solo Parents’ Welfare Act of 2000, a “solo parent” may fall under any of these categories:
- A woman who gives birth as a result of rape and other crimes against chastity, provided that she keeps and raises the child;
- A parent who is left “solo” because of these circumstances: (a) death of the spouse; (b) spouse is detained or serving a prison sentence for at least 1 year; (c) physical and/or mental incapacity of spouse, as certified by a public medical practitioner; (d) legal separation from spouse for at least 1 year, provided that he/she has custody of the children; or (e) declaration of annulment of marriage as decreed by a court or church, provided that he/she has custody of the children;
- Unmarried mother/father who preferred to care for his/her children instead of having other people care for them or giving them up to a welfare institution; or
- Any family member who provides care and support for the children due to these reasons: (a) death of the parents; (b) abandonment; or (c) disappearance or prolonged absence of the biological parents; and
- Any other person who provides parental care or support for the children;
In addition to the above cases, R.A. No. 11861 has expanded the act to include the following categories as “solo parents” as well:
- Spouse, relative, or legal guardian of the children of an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) who is under low or semi-skilled worker category and has been out of the country for 12 years; and
- Grandmother, grandfather, family member, or legal guardian who is the sole provider of care and support for the children.
Requirements for Availing of Benefits
In order to avail of the benefits mentioned above, the following documents must be presented:
- Solo Parent Identification Card; and
- Solo Parent Booklet.
You can apply for the Solo Parent Identification Card or Solo Parent ID by going to the nearest DSWD office in your area. Once you have this ID and the booklet, you can apply for the benefits and services through DSWD and other agencies.
Requirements for Getting a Solo Parent ID
As part of applying for a Solo Parent ID, the following documents must be presented to the DSWD office:
- Barangay Certification indicating that the applicant has been a resident of the barangay for at least 6 months;
- Birth Certificate of the child or children;
- Income Tax Return (ITR) or other documents that indicate the applicant’s wage/financial status, certified by the Barangay or Municipal Treasurer;
- Letter or Certificate from Barangay Chairperson confirming the applicant’s status as a solo parent; and
- Any of these documents, as applicable: Declaration of Nullity of Marriage; Certificate of No Marriage (CENOMAR); or Medical Certificate stating mental incapacity.
Bring these documents to the nearest DSWD office to apply for a Solo Parent ID. Your application will be subject to assessment by a Social Worker. The ID itself will be issued after 30 days from filing. This is valid for 1 year and is renewable.
How to Process DSWD Solo Parent Cash Assistance
To apply for solo parent cash assistance — or any other benefit/service, for that matter — simply head to the nearest DSWD office in your area. At the office, your application will undergo assessment, and you will be given further instructions, depending on your specific case or need.
DSWD Infographic About Solo Parent ID
Meanwhile, here is an infographic created by the DSWD about the Solo Parent ID. Written in Filipino, it presents the qualifications, benefits of solo parents, and the documents required in applying for a Solo Parent ID.
Video: Solo Parents to Receive Cash Aid from Gov’t
Check out this report shared by PTV News about cash assistance to be received by solo parents, as announced by DSWD Secretary Erwin Tulfo:
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Meanwhile, here some frequently asked questions about the Expanded Solo Parents’ Welfare Act (R.A. No. 11861) and the benefits of solo parents:
1. What is the Expanded Solo Parents’ Welfare Act?
This act amended the Solo Parents’ Welfare Act of 2000 (R.A. No. 8972). Basically, it expanded the benefits offered to solo parents. These include cash assistance, tax exemptions, job prioritization, access to various programs, and other services.
2. Who is considered as a “solo parent?”
According to R.A. No. 11861, a “solo parent” may refer to one who is “solo” because of the death of a spouse, physical and/or mental incapacity of spouse, legal separation, annulment of marriage, and other reasons. It may also refer to a grandparent, family member, or legal guardian who provides parental care and support for the children.
3. What are the benefits of solo parents?
Under the said act, solo parents earning minimum wage or below are entitled to receive: PHP 1,000 monthly cash subsidy form the LGU; discount and VAT exemption on children’s products (for newborns until 6 years of age); automatic PhilHealth coverage; priority in low-cost housing projects and job opportunities; priority in selection of 4Ps members and Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) participants; among other benefits.
4. How can a solo parent avail of these benefits?
To apply for solo parent cash aid or other benefits, solo parents are encouraged to visit the DSWD office in their area for assessment and further instruction.
5. How can I learn more about these benefits?
If you want to learn more about the benefits and services of solo parents, please visit the nearest DSWD office. The contact details of these offices are provided below.
Contact Information: DSWD Central Office
If you are based in the NCR and you’d like to know more about the benefits and services for solo parents, you can get in touch with the DSWD Central Office through the following contact details:
Address: Batasang Pambansa Complex, Constitution Hills, Quezon City, Philippines, 1126
Telephone: (02) 8931 8101
NOTE: Aside from the DSWD Central Office in Quezon City, the department has Field Offices all over the Philippines. Here is the link to the directory of DSWD Field Offices nationwide, including the telephone number and website of each office:
Google Map Location
The DSWD Central Office is situated at the Batasang Pambansa Complex in Quezon City. Below is the office’s location on Google Maps, for your reference:
Being a solo parent is not easy, especially since you are taking on the role of both mother and father to your children. Fortunately, R.A. No. 11861 or the Expanded Solo Parents’ Welfare Act seeks to provide greater benefits and services for solo parents.
By definition, grandparents, family members, and legal guardians providing parental care and support to children may also be considered as solo parents under the said act. So do not hesitate to inquire with the DSWD and avail of various services for you and your family!
DISCLAIMER: We hope that the above guide has been helpful, especially for solo parents, family members, and legal guardians who provide care and support for children. Please note that this guide is presented for general, information-sharing purposes only. To learn more about the Expanded Solo Parents’ Act, along with the benefits and services offered to solo parents, please visit the official website and Facebook page of DSWD.