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How to Apply OWWA Financial Assistance Programs for OFWs and Seafarers

The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) offers many forms of cash assistance to its members. Some of these financial aids include scholarships, medical assistance, assistance during crisis, calamity, and deathlivelihood cash assistance, etc. It is important to keep your OWWA membership active in order to get the maximum benefits especially in times of need. Here we share a list of OWWA financial assistance projects that are available for members to apply for.

Since OFWs are known to rake in millions in remittances for the Philippine economy every year, some people might think that all the requirements and ‘memberships’ imposed on them must be a way to profit some more. Regardless of people’s opinions on this matter, the Philippine government makes it a point to acknowledge the efforts of our modern heroes by supplementing their needs with adequate programs and help from agencies such as the POEA and OWWA.

OWWA is the lead agency tasked to oversee the rights, conditions, and welfare of OFWs abroad. Thus, its programs are geared towards providing assistance and aid to Filipino migrant workers facing challenges overseas and even once they return home. In this post, we will take a look at some of the benefits OWWA-OFW members can avail from the agency and other keynotes about these programs. Keep on reading to learn more.

How to Apply OWWA Financial Assistance Programs for OFWs

Credits: DFA, Wikimedia Commons

List of OWWA Financial Assistance Programs to Apply for OFWs

As an OWWA member, one of the benefits you can get from the agency is OWWA Financial Assistance, which comes in various programs, which we will outline in the following sections of this guide.

1. DOLE-OWWA Tulong PUSO Livelihood Program for OFWs

This is a joint project spearheaded by the DOLE and OWWA aimed at OFWs to help distressed OFWs due to the pandemic and assist them to build a sustainable business in the country. What’s unique about this program is that it is geared towards OFW organizations or OFW groups. Depending on the size of the group applying for the financial assistance, grantees can receive up to Php 1,000,000 cash funding. To learn more about this program, click here.

2. Calamity Assistance

The OWWA calamity assistance falls under the Welfare Assistance Program (WAP) of the agency. This is directed at OFWs and their families who do not qualify for any existing social benefits of the agency. The calamity assistance, as the name suggests, is given to OFWs and their families who have been affected by either human-induced or natural calamities and disasters.  The cash assistance amounts to Php 3,000. To learn more about this program, click here.

3. Balik Pinas Balik Hanapbuhay Program

This is a livelihood cash assistance program spearheaded by the DOLE aimed at migrant Filipino workers who have been repatriated for whatever reason (i.e., pandemic, war, financial difficulties, etc.). The goal of this program is to assist repatriated Filipinos to rebuild their lives in the Philippines through cash assistance worth Php 20,000. To learn more about this program, click here.

4. Balik Pinay Balik Hanapbuhay Program

Further delineating the programs for repatriated OFWs, this time the focus is on repatriated female OFWs (i.e., distressed female OFWs or displaced HSWs). The program aims to provide training, investment, savings, and entrepreneurship programs to its target audience. To learn more about this program, click here.

5. Death and Burial Benefits

OWWA provides financial assistance to OFWs who unfortunately pass away either due to natural causes or an accident. The amount allocated for the former is Php 100,000 and the latter with Php 200,000 is to be received by the deceased OFW’s family. Moreover, there is an automatic rider worth Php 20,000 for burial benefits. To learn more about this benefit, click here.

6. Disability Benefits

Another benefit that OWWA-OFW members can have is in the event that they get into an unfortunate incident resulting in disability or dismemberment. For partial disability (including dismemberment), the member will be eligible to receive a sum of Php 50,000. Meanwhile, they shall receive Php 100,000 for total and permanent disability. To learn more about this benefit, click here.

7. MEDPLUS

This program is created in partnership with Philhealth aimed at providing supplemental assistance to active OWWA members who may have contracted a fatal disease while working overseas. The program supplements the Philhealth coverage you can avail from any Philhealth-accredited facility by providing cash assistance worth Php 50,000.

8. DOLE-AKAP (COVID-19 cash assistance)

This is another form of a timely cash assistance program launched during the pandemic. This one-time cash assistance program is granted to OFWs who have been affected or displaced from their work overseas and were forced to return home amid the pandemic. The cash aid amounts to USD 200 or Php 10,000. To learn more about this program, click here.

9. Project EASE (COVID-19 scholarship assistance)

The pandemic has made life much more difficult for OFWs and their families. In response to this, OWWA and DOLE conceptualized the Project EASE scholarship program to help the children of OFWs affected by COVID-19. The program extends financial assistance to children of OFWs who are in college (scholars) by providing them with Php 10,000 for a maximum of four years. Click here to learn more about this scholarship grant.

10. Tabang OFW (COVID-19 scholarship assistance)

Another scholarship program established during the Duterte administration is the Tabang OFW. This program is aimed at college-level dependents of OFWs. Educational subsidy in the form of a one-time scholarship grant of Php 30,000 for the current academic year will be given to qualified applicants. Click here to learn more about this scholarship grant.

11. SESP – Skills for Employment Scholarship Program

The Skills for Employment for Scholarship Program provides educational training assistance to qualified OFWs and their dependents who wish to upskill themselves through technical and vocational courses offered by TESDA. This program offers a financial grant worth Php 14,500 (maximum benefit) per course every year. Click here for more information.

12. ODSP – OFW Dependent Scholarship Program

Another form of scholarship program offered by OWWA is the OFW Dependent Scholarship Program, which provides a maximum grant of Php 20,000 per school year to any qualified OFW dependent undertaking a bachelor’s or associate degree in a state-recognized university or college. To learn more about this program, click here.

13. ELAP – Educational Livelihood Assistance Program

This program is specifically designed to cater to the beneficiaries of deceased OFWs in the form of providing an educational assistance package on a yearly basis. Beneficiaries at the primary school level will receive Php 5,000; high school beneficiaries (Php 8,000); and those in college (Php 10,000 or Php 5,000 per semester) for every school year.

14. EDSP – Education for Development Scholarship Program

This program is another scholarship intended for OFW dependents. It provides school cash assistance with a maximum of PHP 60,000 per SY for a 4- or 5-year baccalaureate course in any college or university. There is an average grade that must be maintained equivalent to at least 80%. The student must belong to the upper 20% of the graduation class, pass the DOST exam.

15. SUP – Seafarer’s Upgrading Program

This benefit applies to seafarers who wish to update or upgrade their skills in their chosen line of work. A grant worth Php 7,500 for the first-time availment. To learn more about this program, click here.

16. MDA – Mariner’s Dugtong Aral Program

Here’s a ‘bridging’ or a form of continuing education program aimed at soon-to-be seafarers with a degree in BS Mechanical Engineering or BS Electrical Engineering and wish to pursue a course in BS Marine Engineering. The scholarship offers a maximum amount of Php 38,120 and an additional 3-month stipend worth Php 15,000 for qualified graduates. To learn more about this scholarship grant, click here.

How do I get cash assistance from OWWA?

Each program is catered to a specific OFW subgroup or their dependents, so make sure to carefully check the qualifications specified for each, as listed in the above sections. Moreover, to ensure that you are eligible to apply for such benefits and programs, you need to be an active OWWA member.

OWWA Cash Assistance for Seafarer

Seafarers can likewise avail themselves of the benefits and programs offered to land-based OFWs on top of the specific scholarship programs we’ve mentioned earlier. These include the Seafarer’s Upgrading Program (SUP)UP and Mariner’s Dugtong Aral (MDA) Program. So people working as seaman (or seawoman) can take advantage of the OWWA projects available plus more.

Video: OWWA Benefits and Programs

Here’s an ‘essential’ video guide on everything you need to know about OWWA programs as well as the various benefits you can avail of as an OFW-member. Here, you will get to know not only about the benefits and programs developed by OWWA and their partner agencies such as Philhealth, DOLE, and TESDA but also the services you can expect to receive as a member.

Most of the questions you may have about the various projects of OWWA will be answered in this short guide. Just make sure to watch the entire 6-minute video, and then you’ll thank yourself you gave it the time it deserves.

Summary

As you’ve read down to this point, there are A LOT of programs created by OWWA and its partner agencies. So, it’s really up to you as to what you want to take advantage of. And the first step you need to make is to know which programs you are qualified for. Hopefully, through the help of this guide, you can now pinpoint the ones that you can apply for.

All of the programs included on this list provide financial assistance. This means that you do not have to pay anything or pay back the agency eventually (as in loans), as long as you qualify and have been selected to benefit from the program offers you applied for.

And finally, here’s a friendly reminder to maintain an active OWWA member status by regularly paying the membership fee of only USD 25 (Php 1,250), which is valid for two years. Sounds good? Now, how about you share this post so that more OFWs whether family or friends of yours can benefit from the financial assistance offered by OWWA?

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