dswd unemployment assistance

DSWD Unemployment Financial Assistance

Recently, a link claiming to offer P7,000 in unemployment financial aid from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has been making rounds on social media platforms like Facebook and Messenger. This has caught the attention of netizens, with some even visiting DSWD offices to claim their unemployment assistance. However, the DSWD has issued a statement clarifying that no such program is currently being offered.

There is no sole and official unemployment benefit being offered by DSWD. Although there are other types of financial aid projects available such as the AICS program. But this applies beyond those who don’t have jobs.

This being said, let us explore what actual government programs Filipinos can avail of, specifically for those who need unemployment assistance. Keep on reading below. 

Note: We will update this post once an official statement by the DSWD has been released addressing the plight of unemployed Filipinos by providing them with financial assistance or the like. 

dswd unemployment assistance

DSWD Warns Against Unemployment Assistance Benefit after Answering Survey

In a post on their official and verified Facebook page on November 15, the DSWD stated that they do not require any survey questionnaire in exchange for unemployment financial assistance. This means that if you need aid due to a crisis, you can directly go to official DSWD channels for help.

They also reminded the public that if they need assistance during these challenging times, they can seek help through the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) program. It is important to be vigilant and verify the authenticity of any information or links before sharing or providing personal information online. The official website of the DSWD is www.dswd.gov.ph.

dswd unemployment financial assistance

Below is the official post from DSWD about this recent fake news update:

Philippine Government Benefits for Unemployed Filipinos

While it’s clear that the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) does not currently offer direct unemployment financial aid, it’s important to highlight other avenues available to unemployed Filipinos. Several public and private institutions in the Philippines offer various benefits to those who qualify. Here’s a closer look at these opportunities:

1. Unemployment Benefits from the Social Security System (SSS)

  • Eligibility: Must be an unemployed SSS member, involuntarily separated from employment (e.g., due to retrenchment, closure of company).
  • Benefit: Cash benefits up to PHP 20,000, depending on the member’s average monthly salary credit and the number of paid contributions.
  • Application Process: File the claim within one year from the date of involuntary separation at any SSS branch.

2. Salary Loan from SSS

  • Eligibility: Must be an active SSS member with at least 36 monthly contributions, 6 of which should be within the last 12 months before the month of loan application.
  • Amount: One-month salary loan is equivalent to the average of the member’s latest 12 Monthly Salary Credits (MSC), or two-month salary loan is twice the average MSC.
  • Repayment: Payable in 24 monthly installments with an annual interest rate.

3. Pag-IBIG Multi-purpose Loan

  • Eligibility: Active Pag-IBIG members with at least 24 months’ worth of savings.
  • Loan Amount: Up to 80% of the total Pag-IBIG Regular Savings, which includes the member’s contributions, employer’s contributions, and accumulated dividends.
  • Use: Can be used for various purposes like minor home improvement, tuition fees, health and wellness, etc.

4. COVID-19 Government Assistance Programs

  • Agencies Involved: DILG, DSWD, and other local government units.
  • Cash Assistance: Aid for individuals and families affected by lockdowns and quarantine measures, with amounts varying based on local government policies.
  • Health Coverage: PhilHealth provides coverage for COVID-19 testing and hospitalization based on set case rates.

5. Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE)

  • Programs Offered: Emergency employment, livelihood assistance, and job fairs.
  • Eligibility: Varies by program; generally aimed at displaced workers, returning OFWs, and those affected by natural disasters.
  • Access: Information available at local DOLE offices or through their official website.

6. Government Service Insurance System (GSIS)

  • Eligibility: For government employees who are involuntarily separated from service.
  • Benefits: Unemployment benefits equivalent to 50% of the average monthly compensation, plus loans with varying terms and conditions.
  • Application: Processed through GSIS offices.

7. Local Government Units (LGUs)

  • Assistance Type: Varies by locality – includes financial aid, food assistance, and job placement programs.
  • Accessing Benefits: Inquire at the local barangay or municipal hall for specific programs and eligibility criteria.
  • Programs: Here are some of the existing programs under this category:
    • Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD):
  • Type: Emergency employment program.
  • Beneficiaries: Unemployed, underemployed, and seasonal workers.
  • Details: Short-term work opportunities are provided, often related to community service and development.
  • Livelihood Assistance Grants:
  • Type: Financial aid for starting or expanding small businesses.
  • Eligibility: Open to unemployed individuals looking to engage in entrepreneurship.
  • Application: Typically through the LGU’s social welfare or business development offices.
  • Job Fairs and Placement Services:
  • Type: Employment facilitation events.
  • Benefit: Connects job seekers with local and overseas employers.
  • Access: Often announced through barangay halls and municipal websites.

8. Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and Foundations

  • Services Offered: Job training programs, educational scholarships, and sometimes direct financial aid.
  • Finding Them: Research and contact local NGOs and foundations that focus on economic empowerment and employment assistance.
  • Programs: Here are some of the institutions that offer unemployment assistance in the form of training, loans, or professional advancement opportunities:
  • Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Training Programs:
  • Services Offered: Vocational and technical education programs.
  • Beneficiaries: Unemployed individuals seeking skills training.
  • Access: Through TESDA centers or their partner NGOs.
  • Foundation for Sustainable Society Inc. (FSSI):
  • Type: Economic development through sustainable enterprises.
  • Services: Training, loans, and business development assistance.
  • Target Group: Marginalized sectors, including the unemployed.
  • Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP):
  • Type: Livelihood and skills development programs.
  • Focus: Training and support for small and medium enterprises.
  • Access: Through PBSP’s various community-based programs.
  • Scholarship Programs from Various Foundations:
  • Type: Educational scholarships.
  • Beneficiaries: Unemployed individuals seeking further education.
  • Application: Varies per foundation; check their specific criteria and application processes.

Note: Each of these programs has specific criteria and processes, and it’s vital for individuals to directly contact the respective agencies or organizations for the most accurate and up-to-date information. These resources can provide substantial support during unemployment, but it’s crucial to approach them with a clear understanding of their requirements and benefits.

Maximizing the Use of These Resources

1. Stay Updated:

  • Keep abreast of any changes or updates in benefit programs.
  • Follow official government and organization websites, social media channels, and news outlets for the latest information.

2. Explore Multiple Options:

  • Investigate all forms of assistance available from different sources, including government, NGOs, and private foundations.
  • Consider both financial aid and non-monetary support such as training programs or job placement services.

3. Prepare Adequately:

  • Compile and organize all required documentation, such as IDs, employment records, and financial statements, to streamline application processes.
  • Ensure that all forms and applications are accurately and thoroughly completed.

4. Network and Seek Advice:

  • Connect with community groups, employment agencies, and other individuals who have navigated similar paths.
  • Seek advice and insights from professionals in employment services or community leaders.

5. Understand Eligibility Criteria:

  • Carefully review the eligibility requirements for each program to ensure you qualify before applying.
  • Reach out to program administrators for clarifications on any ambiguities.

6. Develop a Plan:

  • Set clear goals for what you need from each program, whether it’s financial assistance, skill development, or job placement.
  • Prioritize applications based on your most urgent needs and the likelihood of acceptance.

7. Leverage Online Resources:

  • Utilize online platforms for job searching, skills training, and networking.
  • Explore digital tools and apps designed to assist with job searches and application processes.

8. Stay Resilient and Positive:

  • Job hunting and applying for assistance can be challenging; maintain a positive mindset.
  • Celebrate small victories and progress to stay motivated.

9. Consult Legal and Financial Advisors (if available):

  • For complex situations, such as understanding legal rights or managing finances, seek professional advice.
  • Some community organizations may offer free or low-cost consultations.

10. Engage in Skill Development:

  • While seeking employment, invest time in improving existing skills or acquiring new ones.
  • Look for free or subsidized courses offered by government agencies, NGOs, or online platforms.

By adopting these strategies, individuals can more effectively navigate the landscape of unemployment assistance and resources, improving their chances of securing the support and opportunities they need.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the Unemployment Benefit from the Social Security System (SSS)?

It’s a cash benefit offered to eligible unemployed SSS members, providing financial aid of up to PHP 20,000 based on the member’s average monthly salary credit and contributions.

2. How Can I Apply for the SSS Unemployment Benefit?

File a claim at any SSS branch within one year of involuntary separation from employment. Ensure you have your employment termination documents and SSS membership information.

3. What is the Pag-IBIG Multi-purpose Loan, and Who Can Avail It?

It’s a loan program for Pag-IBIG members allowing them to borrow up to 80% of their total Pag-IBIG Regular Savings. Active members with at least 24 months of savings are eligible.

4. Are There COVID-19 Specific Financial Assistance Programs in the Philippines?

Yes, the government offers various financial aids, like the PHP 1,000 to PHP 4,000 cash assistance for affected individuals in areas under Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ).

5. What Assistance Does DOLE Provide for Unemployed Individuals?

DOLE offers emergency employment, livelihood assistance, and job fairs. The specific programs can vary, so it’s best to consult the nearest DOLE office or their website.

6. Can Government Employees Avail Unemployment Benefits?

Yes, government employees can avail unemployment benefits through the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), subject to specific eligibility criteria.

7. How Can Local Government Units (LGUs) Assist Unemployed Individuals?

LGUs provide various forms of assistance like financial aid, food assistance, and job placement services. Availability and specifics vary by locality.

8. How Can NGOs and Foundations Help Unemployed Filipinos?

NGOs and foundations offer job training, educational scholarships, and sometimes direct financial assistance. These are typically focused on skill development and economic empowerment.


The viral claim about a P7,000 unemployment financial aid from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) turned out to be a false lead, as clarified by the DSWD itself. Such misinformation underscores the importance of relying on official sources for information about government assistance programs. Despite the non-existence of this particular program, there are, in fact, several legitimate and helpful government and non-government initiatives available for Filipinos who find themselves unemployed.

From the Social Security System’s unemployment benefits to Pag-IBIG’s multi-purpose loan, and from DOLE’s emergency employment programs to the various assistance offered by local government units and NGOs, these programs provide a safety net for those in need. They demonstrate the government’s and society’s commitment to supporting individuals facing unemployment, especially during challenging times like the current pandemic.

dswd emergency shelter assistance program

DSWD Emergency Shelter Assistance

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) began its shelter assistance project in the late 1970s via the Emergency Shelter Assistance (ESA) program to repair damaged houses of family victims of a disaster or calamity.

The ESA program was made possible by the passage of Republic Act No. 7279 or the Humanitarian Emergency Assistance Program, which was signed into law on February 15, 1987, by President Corazon Aquino. The ESA program provided temporary shelter for families affected by disasters like typhoons, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions. The program also provided immediate relief to families affected by disasters through food rations and medical assistance.

Also Read: What is DSWD AICS Program – Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situations

This is especially important for us in the Philippines as a country known as one of the disaster-prone areas in the region. Keep reading to learn more about the DSWD program.

dswd emergency shelter assistance program

What is DSWD Emergency Shelter Assistance?

Super typhoon “Sisang” hit the Philippines in 1987, leaving around 200,000 families homeless. Following the disaster, the DSWD established a program to provide low-cost housing to the affected families.

In 1988, a comprehensive program was formulated to implement the guidelines for rehabilitating the victims of typhoons and other disasters. This project, known as the Core Shelter Assistance Project, was eventually updated in 1989.

The guidelines provided the necessary structural requirements for the construction of core shelters. They also laid out the various components of the project’s implementation.

The DSWD Core Shelter Design was presented with the World Habitat Award in 1991 for its environmentally-friendly construction. This organization, which advocates for hazard-resistant building materials, recognized the design’s strength.

During the 2000 armed conflict in the Philippines, about 10,000 families were left homeless. The DSWD provided financial and material assistance to construct new housing units using locally-produced materials. Unlike the previous one, this program considered the cultural designs of the beneficiaries and the participating families.

The Shelter Assistance Project shall have the following Components:

A. Social Preparation – This component aims to provide or improve beneficiaries’ awareness of their situation, the need for the project, the kind of involvement they can provide, and the importance of their participation.

A composite team composed of C/MSWDOs, DSWD-SWAD, PNP, or a local NGO (if available) would review the circumstances of intended beneficiaries and validate their eligibility for housing assistance on the barangay’s final list.

The C/MSWDOs should ensure that all eligible beneficiaries get a “Disaster Family Access Card.”

C/MSWDOs are required to carry out social preparation activities for beneficiaries, the community, local governments, and non-governmental organizations. The DSWD Field Office must develop the final list of beneficiaries based on the validation performed by the composite team.

To strengthen community organization and stimulate community formation, C/MSWDOs should recruit beneficiaries into a Neighborhood Association for Shelter Assistance (NASA) with a maximum of 30 members. The monetary rewards must be deposited into a bank account in the name of the NASA Organization, with signatures from the NASA President and Treasurer, the Municipal Social Welfare Officer, and any member of the DSWD SWAD Team. (This applies to DSWD Field Offices with SWAD Teams.)

NASA should form a committee in charge of soliciting, marketing, procuring, and overseeing shelter construction materials.

The beneficiaries should sign a contract with the DSWD and the LGUs stating that the former will not sell, rent, or mortgage the property and will furnish labor for the construction of their home (applicable for shelter aid and core help only) (Applicable only for shelter and essential support)

B. Food I Monetary-for-Work Aid – The provision of food or cash assistance to catastrophe victims or displaced people in exchange for their services or participation in restoration and rehabilitation activities.

Food or cash assistance to meet the needs of beneficiaries and their families through the Food/Cash-for-Work (F/CFW) program at a rate of 75% of the daily regional wage, value of either cash or food/family/day for a maximum of 10 days with 25% as beneficiary equity; however, the daily payment will only be granted to families who work at least eight hours per day.

Through a “Bayanihan Scheme,” F/CFW assistance shall be provided to all beneficiaries of ESA / MSA / CSA organized into NASA with a maximum of 30 members as food or cash support for a maximum of 10 days while participating in community activities such as cleaning of drainage, repairing of community facilities, houses, and construction of Shelter. Only one (1) individual per household may benefit from or use the C/ FFW assistance.

C. Technical Assistance in Housing Construction – This refers to providing beneficiaries and LGUs with orientation, demonstration, assistance, and monitoring in the execution of shelter units in line with the permitted shelter plan and specification.

A DSWD Engineer (CO or Field Office) shall give technical assistance by orienting, and showing the Provincial/City/Municipal Engineer, Foreman or skilled worker, and beneficiaries the construction of the core shelter model house to ensure conformance with the standard shelter design.

D. Financial Support – The provision of limited financial assistance to cover the cost of housing materials to satisfy the basic housing needs of families whose houses have been destroyed by natural disasters.

The amount of the DSWD shelter or core shelter support grant must be determined by the Secretary in consultation with the appropriate internal and external stakeholders. It must be adjusted regularly based on the current cost of construction materials.

Legal Basis

1. Presidential Decree (PD) 1566 (dated June 11, 1978) – “Strengthening of the Philippine Disaster Control, Capability and Establishing the National program on Community Disaster Preparedness

2. DSWD Administrative Order 76, Series of 1988 – Implementing Guidelines for Core Shelter Assistance Pilot Project for the Rehabilitation of Victims of Typhoon “Sisang” and other Disasters

3. DSWD Administrative Order 101, Series of 1989 Amendment of Administrative Order Number 76, Series of 1988 – Implementing Guidelines for Core Shelter

4. Republic Act 8185 – Amends section 324 of the Local Government Code Authorizing the local government units to declare a state of calamity and use of 5% of its budget for disaster management

5. Republic Act (RA) 7160 The Local Government Code of 1991 supports the goals and objectives of the disaster preparedness, prevention and mitigation programs. The law strengthens local autonomy thru devolution of the basic services functions of the national agencies to the LGUs.

6. Executive Order No. 15, Series of 1998 – “Redirecting the functions and Operations of the Department of Social Welfare and Development”.

7. DSWD Administrative Order Number 15, Series of 2008 – Guidelines on the Implementation of the Cash-for-Work (CFW) Project

8. Republic Act No. 10121 (Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010) – An Act Strengthening the Philippine Risk Reduction and Management System, Providing for the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Plan, Appropriating Funds Therefore and for Other Purposes


Cash Assistance

  • P30,000 to typhoon victims with totally-damaged houses
  • P10,000 to families with partially-damaged houses
  • Food/Cash-for-Work Assistance
  • Technical Assistance in House Construction
  • Financial Assistance:
    • Neighborhood Association for Shelter Assistance
    • Partnership with Private Sectors, NGOs and Gas in coordination with LGUs
    • Funds to the LGUs

The DSWD has a number of projects and activities that are aimed at helping people in need. These include:

– Direct cash pay-out to families with serious illnesses and disabilities;

– Direct check pay-out to senior citizens;

– Tap-up with Pantawid Pamilya Pilipino Program (4Ps) cash card holders; and

– Mobilize existing and available service providers like Palawan, Cebuana, GCash, among others. Emergency Shelter Assistance (ESA) to repair damaged houses of family victims of disaster.


  1. Families whose house have been totally destroyed by a man-made or natural disaster
  2. Not a recipient of any other housing assistance from any other individual groups or agency government or non-government for the disaster in question.
  3. Families included in the LGU master list based on the issued DSWD Disaster Assistance family Access Card (DAFAC)


Here are the eligibility requirements based on the criteria and recommendation of the City / Municipal Social Welfare and Development Officers (G/MSWDOs) following a set of criteria provided by DSWD through this guideline and validated by the DSWD Field Offices.

Prioritization is determined based on criteria indicated in this guideline considering the funds available.

A. Beneficiaries:

  • Family is not a recipient of any other housing assistance from any other individual groups or agency government or non-government for the disaster in question.
  • Monthly income of a family of 6 should be below the food threshold that is P10, 936.00 in urban areas and P9, 767.00 in rural areas based on the NSCB poverty statistic report dated March 2, 2007. The family monthly income rate shall be adjusted from time to time depending on the food threshold rate report of the NSCB.
  • House should have been totally destroyed by a man-made or natural disaster; and limited resources prevents the family from repairing or reconstructing their permanent shelter units such that they continue to live with relatives or friends in evacuation centers, or in other makeshift shelters.
  • Possession of a guarantee of ownership or permanent or long term occupancy of at least 10 years on the lot on which to build the permanent shelter unit.
  • If resources warrants, vulnerable families residing in high risk areas maybe provided or may avail of shelter assistance as part of mitigation measures.

The following shall be considered priority for assistance indicated;

  • Families with small children.
  • Families with pregnant and lactating mothers.
  • Surrogate parents of orphaned children living in evacuation centers who are equally situated e.g. with totally damaged shelter units.
  • Families with damaged houses whose head of household died or were incapacitated as a result of the disaster.

Priority will be given to beneficiaries who meet the geographical clustering requirement in a specific barangay with at least 5 beneficiaries living in proximity with each other to promote collective actions in realizing goals of the project and easy delivery of housing materials.

Families with seriously ill members or persons with disabilities or with special needs. (Persons are considered with special needs if they have physical, developmental, mental, sensory, behavioral, cognitive or emotional impairment or limiting conditions that require medical management, health care interventions, and /or use of specialized services or programs).

B. Areas

The area where the house will be built is not prone to hazards and certified as a safe area by DENR- Mines and Geo-Science Bureau (MGB), DOSTsPHILVOCS/PAGASA;

Area should have access to transportation.

A minimum of 60 sq. meter home lot / shelter unit shall be allotted in the resettlement areas and space for path walks and other community facilities shall be provided.

Documentary Requirements

Requirements for LGUs Requesting for Shelter Assistance

  1. Disaster Terminal Report Contents:
    • Brief situationer (covering from time of disaster to date of report)
    • Nature and date of occurrence
    • Areas and population affected
    • Damage to the population and community
    • Services extended – by whom / where / when
    • Brief description of strategies used, strength and weaknesses of the operation, actions taken and recommendation for future action.
  2. Rehabilitation Plan for the affected families/communities;
  3. Project Proposal describing the rehabilitation project and specific counter-part of LGUs and time line for shelter implementation;
  4. Copy of notarized deed of donation / documents attesting the availability of sites / lot for shelter project (applicable for MSA/ CSAP).
  5. Sangguniang Bayan (SB) Resolution approving / endorsing the proposed housing project.
  6. Certification from the LGUs Treasurer on the availability of calamity fund to be use as a counter-part for the rehabilitation project, (applicable for MSA/CSAP)
  7. Master list of the proposed beneficiaries based on the family access cards with individual picture of the family heads prepared by the C/ MSWDOs and certified by the C/ Municipal Shelter Committee;
  8. Certification issued by DENR – Mines and Geo-Science Bureau (MGB), DOSTs PHILVOCS/PAG-ASA
  9. Formal endorsement of the Field Office or DSWD-ARMM for ARMM areas

The ESA will be distributed via direct cash payout to beneficiaries through authorized Special Disbursing Officers (SDO) of concerned DSWD Field Offices (FOs).

Video: CamSur lumapit sa DSWD, NHA para sa emergency shelter assistance

In 2020, the local government of Camarines Sur has approached two government agencies to help its residents whose homes were damaged in the wake of Hurricane Rolly to provide emergency assistance. Watch the video above to learn more.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is emergency shelter assistance of DSWD?

The DSWD is providing financial assistance to families whose houses were damaged due to the typhoon. The agency will provide them with P10,000 to purchase construction materials.

2. Why is emergency shelter important?

This project aims to provide a secure and healthy environment for vulnerable individuals while protecting them from various risks, such as abuse and exploitation. It also aims to help them access their needed services and improve their living conditions.

3. What is the meaning of “house should have been totally destroyed by a man-made or natural disaster”?

The house should have been completely destroyed due to a natural or man-made disaster. Unfortunately, due to limited resources, the family can’t afford to fix or reconstruct their permanent shelter units. They’re forced to live with friends or relatives in temporary shelters.

4. What is shelter assistance?

The objective is to provide financial and material assistance to families in the construction of houses, but with modifications that are more appropriate for the local political and cultural context. This program also aims to address the structural design of the houses.

5. What is limited housing?

To help families whose houses have been damaged, the government provides financial assistance and limited housing materials. However, these are usually accompanied by safety requirements.

6. What is the meaning of “impact”?

A serious disturbance to the functioning of a society or community, which involves widespread human, material, environmental, or economic losses, can exceed the capacity of its members or the society to cope with its own resources.

7. How many shelter units per cluster?

If you are planning on providing resettlement lots, make sure that they are available for at least five shelter units per cluster. These units should be certified by scientific agencies to be safe.

8. What is the purpose of the Local Government Code of 1991?

The 1991 Local Government Code provides for the establishment of effective disaster mitigation and preparedness programs. It also allows local governments to delegate the basic services functions of their national agencies.


The Philippines, being one of the countries that are frequently hit by calamities throughout the year, benefits greatly from the DSWD’s Emergency Shelter Assistance (ESA) because the program provides immediate relief to the victims of natural disasters. The DSWD’s Emergency Shelter Assistance is a government program that provides temporary shelter and housing units to those who were affected by calamities. It also complements other disaster management programs in order to mitigate against the effects of disasters.

Through the agency’s partnership with LGUs, the DSWD’s Emergency Shelter Assistance was able to provide temporary shelter and housing units for the victims of natural disasters. The DSWD also ensures that the beneficiaries of its program are provided with livelihood opportunities to continue supporting their families after the emergency period.

We hope that you’ve learned a lot about the agency’s program for disaster victims and how it works. If you ever need help in case of emergency, please don’t hesitate to contact the DSWD through your respective LGU. The DSWD’s hotline numbers are available on their website and in the hotline directory in your local government office. 


How to Apply DSWD Social Amelioration Program

With the advent of the pandemic, the DSWD Social Amelioration Program (DSWD-SAP) is one of the DSWD programs that was launched to provide immediate relief for affected families. The program aimed to address the psychosocial and economic needs of families affected by the pandemic to prevent secondary trauma that results from despair, depression, and other social problems.

Also Read: What is DSWD AICS Program – Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situations

And since there has been a huge commotion regarding the distribution, qualifications, and other details of the DSWD SAP in the past few months, we should try to understand what this program is. Keep on reading to find out more about it.

how to apply dswd social amelioration program

What is DSWD Social Amelioration Program (DSWD-SAP)?

The Social Amelioration Program offers low-income families with a monthly cash subsidy of P5,000 to P8,000 for two months, depending on where they live. During the pandemic, the subsidies allow the most vulnerable members of society to meet their basic necessities.

SAP, like the installation of any new technology, has been challenging. A number of LGUs have reported difficulty in creating the list of recipients and providing the cash subsidy due to a lack of funds or inadequate distribution infrastructure. Some have also criticized the pace with which subsidies are provided, the need for more clarity regarding subsidy recipients, and the precise amount granted to each consumer.


The speed with which the coronavirus disease outbreak (COVID-19) was transformed into exceptional health, economic, and geopolitical issues is unprecedented. As of May 2021, COVID-19 had spread throughout the Philippines, with over 1.1 million confirmed cases and 18,821 fatalities. Aside from the direct clinical repercussions of COVID-19 transmission, evidence is emerging that the pandemic and the efforts adopted to suppress the virus have had major economic and social consequences. According to the Asian Development Bank, the country’s annual GDP growth is expected to be -10%.

In response to the outbreak, the Philippine government established the Social Amelioration Program (SAP), which became one of the country’s most significant emergency response projects.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) announced that it will provide Social Amelioration measures to families from disadvantaged sectors for a period of two months, as stipulated by Republic Act (RA) 11469, commonly known as the “Bayanihan to Heal as One Act.” This financial assistance is intended to assist families affected by the community quarantine during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Bayanihan to Heal as One Act

On March 23, 2020, Republic Act 11469, also known as the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, was signed into law, declaring a national health emergency in the Philippines owing to the COVID-19 epidemic. In it, Congress authorizes the President to use extraordinary powers for a short time and under certain conditions to handle an issue that poses a clear and present threat to the public.

To alleviate the impact of COVID-19 on poverty in the Philippines, the Philippine government created a social support program throughout the quarantine period. The government provided emergency aid under the Social ImprovementAmelioration Program (SAP). SAP served 18 million low-income households, or 70% of the total population served. SAP beneficiaries include 4.4 million Pantawis Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) households and other vulnerable Filipinos such as informal workers.

The outbreak of COVID-19 has resulted in a significant decline in the country’s economic growth. It has also disrupted various sectors of the economy, such as agriculture, construction, and manufacturing. This is expected to have a negative impact on the country’s poverty rate.

The economic crisis has severely affected the country’s economy, causing the consumption growth to drop to its lowest level in over three decades. In February 2020, the number of tourists decreased by 41.4%. This resulted in a decline in private consumption growth during the year’s first quarter.

The country’s economic collapse in 2020 has led to high unemployment. Many people have lost their service jobs and been placed on unpaid leave. It can take the economy up to six to 18 months to recover from its current state. By June 2021, the unemployment rate is expected to reach 9%.

Guide to DSWD Social Amelioration Program

Benefits of DSWD-SAP

Despite the controversies and issues surrounding DSWD-SAP, there were some crucial benefits of the program, which are as follows:

  • Provide temporary relief for recipient households
  • Introduction of digital payments to the masses.
  • The first round of disbursement of an amount between Php 5,000 to Php 8,000 within a two-month window as the country was going into lockdown was impressive.
  • The combination of early in-kind assistance and cash assistance through the SAP helped families meet a wider range of needs.

Qualifications for the DSWD-SAP

According to the government, SAP’s priority is to assist families that are most affected by the effects of the ECQ, especially those from the informal sector. The DSWD also released the household qualifying factors.

Families from the poor or informal sector who lost their source of income as a result of the enlarged community quarantine and who have at least one member from one of the vulnerable or disadvantaged sectors:

  • Senior Citizens;
  • Persons with Disabilities (PWDs);
  • Pregnant and lactating mothers;
  • Single Parents;
  • OFWs in distress;
  • Indigent Indigenous Peoples (IPs);
  • Underprivileged Sector and Homeless Citizens;
  • Informal Economy Workers;
  • Directly Hired or Occasional Workers:
  • Subcontracted Workers;
  • Homeworkers; and
  • Househelpers
  • Drivers of Pedicab, Tricycle, PUJs, UVs, PUBs, Taxi, Transport Network Vehicle Service (TNVS) and Transport Network Companies (TNC);
  • Micro-entrepreneurs and Producers, Operators of Sari-sari Stores, Family Enterprise Owners,
  • Sub Minimum Wage Earners;
  • Farmers, Fisherfolks, and Farm workers;

Employees affected by the “no work, no pay” policy and who are not covered by DOLE Order No. 209, Series of 2020, or any other DOLE issuance/s on the adjustment measures program.

Moreover, families enrolled in the DSWD’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) are automatically qualified and prioritized for SAP.

4Ps provides underprivileged households with conditional cash transfers to improve their health, nutrition, and education.

The recipients of the qualifying 4Ps have SAP credentials. Farmers, fishermen, homeless families, indigenous peoples, those in the informal sector, those in geographically isolated areas, and those without electricity are among those affected. The DSWD conducts a yearly revalidation procedure for families participating in the 4Ps.


The list of beneficiaries will be provided by Local Government Units (LUGs). Furthermore, DSWD, DA, and DOLE will collaborate with DILG to use their own datasets.

Thus, the DSWD representatives will determine those who are qualified for the program based on the criteria and qualifications set by the department.

Those who qualify based on the above criteria set by the department may need to show:

  • proof of identification,
  • certificates that show you were let go from your job, and
  • other documents that support your claim.

How to Apply for the DSWD-SAP

Because of the extended ECQ, local government units (LGUs) will give their own list of families in need of cash support in addition to the DSWD and other implementing agencies’ databases.

Step 1: The LGUs would issue Social Amelioration Cards (SAC) to each family through the barangays in order to compile their list.

Step 2: Each family’s head should do their utmost to fill it. DSWD will utilize this criterion to decide if a family not in their database is eligible for SAP.

IMPORTANT: There is NO NEED to leave your home as DSWD representatives will deliver the forms straight to your doorstep.

Step 3: After completion, deliver one copy to the authorized local government employees who will collect the forms. The second copy must be kept by the home for future monitoring and reference.

Step 4: Once approved, the DSWD and other government agencies, such as the Departments of Agriculture and Labor and Employment, will distribute the necessary assistance through your local government.

NOTE: The SAC form is a validation tool that aims to review families who need immediate assistance.

Alternatively, you may check with your local barangay, municipality, or city to find out whose households have been approved for SAP and when or how it will be disbursed. DSWD provides distribution schedules when local governments obtain cash assistance for distribution.

Infographic about DSWD Social Amelioration Program

Check out this infographic to learn more about the DSWD Social Amelioration Program! This program helps provide food and nutrition assistance to those in need. It provides supplementary feeding for pregnant and lactating women, as well as malnourished children and adults. The program also includes health education activities to promote proper nutrition and hygiene practices.

DSWD-SAP Form Sample

Here’s a sample of the DSWD Social Amelioration Program form. DSWD representatives will deliver one of these straight to your doorstep. It is free, and all you need to do is to fill it out and return it to your barangay or local DSWD office.

This is the DSWD form that you need to complete for you to get cash assistance from the government. Do note, however, that the SAP is intended mainly for the marginalized and vulnerable sectors of society. This means that if you are not in dire need of financial assistance, this form will not be of much use to you.

SAP Sample Form
DSWD Social Amelioration Card

WATCH: Pamimigay ng SAP subsidy, itinuloy

Here’s a clip featuring the SAP distribution done in May of 2020, in the early parts when the country was placed in lockdown and many people were left without any sources of income at all. SAP has proved to be of immense help to many people who were struggling with their finances, especially during the first months of the crisis. 

The government has also been quick to distribute cash assistance to all those who are eligible. However, it was only available for a time because the government had to take over the distribution of the cash assistance so that they could use it for other things. The reason why it was only distributed for a time is because the government already has plans in place to distribute other forms of aid to those who are still struggling with their finances.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What program of DSWD is part of the Social Amelioration Programs?

DSWD’s financial assistance program, which is part of its social amelioration efforts, is known as AICS. It provides financial assistance to families and individuals who are in crisis. These include those who are poor, vulnerable or marginalized.

2. How much subsidy will each qualified household receive?

The government’s food subsidy program provides a monthly payment of at least five thousand pesos to families with a household income of about five thousand pesos. It can be increased to eight thousand pesos depending on the prevailing minimum wage in the region.

3. How many households will benefit from social amelioration programs?

Around 18 million families are at risk of being unable to earn a living during the CEP. These include those in the informal sector and those who are poor.

4. How will they determine the qualified beneficiaries?

The list of beneficiaries will be submitted by the local government units. They will also use the data collected by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

5. How about those households under 4Ps? Are they included in the social amelioration programs?

The government will provide additional assistance to families with children who are members of 4Ps. This aid will not exceed the P5,000 to P8,000 per month subsidy that they are entitled to in their region.

6. How will they monitor the distribution of social amelioration programs?

The Social Amelioration Card is a form that is distributed at the local level to identify the families that are affected by the government’s programs. It will help them access the services that the government provides. The form will also record the various services that the head of the family has received.

7. What should you do if you don’t qualify for SAP?

In addition to SAP, the government has other programs that can help your family. If you don’t qualify for SAP, check if you can still receive assistance through these programs:

  1. Livelihood Aid Grants (LAG), or financial aid, are available to qualifying participants in the sustainable livelihood program (SLP) whose livelihoods have been interrupted by the declaration of community quarantine.
  2. DOLE’s CAMP, also known as the Tulong Pangkabuhayan for Displaced/Poor Workers (TUPAD)
  3. COVID-19 Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag-Asenso Enterprise Rehabilitation Fund (P3-ERF) and Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso (P3), a financing program established by DTI’s SB Corporation (SBCorp) for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) Cash Assistance for Farmers Survival and Recovery (SURE) is a recovery package for underprivileged, small farmers and fishermen

8. What agencies implement the Social Amelioration Program (SAP)?

These agencies include DSWD, Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Agriculture (DA) and Department of Finance (DOF) (Bayanihan Act and JMC No. 1 Series of 2020).

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM), The Department of Finance (DOF), and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) are also working together on the implementation of SAP.

9. What does DSWD provide under SAP?

The Emergency Subsidy Program (ESP) is the umbrella term under which SAP is classified. It was enforced by the DSWD during the ECQ in partnership with Local Government Units (LGUs) or local governments from provincial to village. (JMC No. 1, Series of 2020; Definition of Terms #5, 5.1 at MC 9, Series of 2020, Section V).

10. Where can the SAP-ESP recipients’ list be found?

In response to the concerns about the transparency of the implementation of the SAP-ES program, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) has ordered the posting of the names of qualified beneficiaries in the various local government units (LGUs) and barangays. The DSWD also has a link that can be found on its website, which can be accessed by clicking on the link.

11. Who is not included in the SAP-ESP?

According to DSWD guidelines, the following people are ineligible for SAP-ESP assistance:

Employees in the private sector or The Formal Economy who may be on the wage; Individuals who have retired and receive a pension (regardless of how small or large the pension is); and Individuals with the financial means to support their families (MC 9 Series of 2020, Section VI-B).

12. Why are Private Sector employees or those in the formal Economy excluded even when categorized as No work, No Pay?

They are not included because the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has a program known as the CAMP or COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program that aims to provide financial assistance to those working in the private sector who have experienced a reduction in income or no income at all as a result of ECQ. This program prevents them from being included (DOLE Department Order No. 209 Series of 2020 and MC 9, Series of 2020, Section VII).

On the other hand, SAP-ESP intends to assist individuals who work in the informal sector and considers them among the poorest of the poor (MC 9 Series of 2020, Section VI-A).


The SAP has provided some relief to many Filipinos at the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite this, some have argued that the program has not lived up to expectations and that it should be revised.

These individuals also believe that a more comprehensive system should be in place to ensure that all Filipinos are protected from the future impact and threat of infectious diseases.

It was clear from the very start that the program was intended only as a brief reprieve from the ravages of a pandemic, not as a permanent solution. As such, it was only meant to be implemented for one year and then discontinued.

We hope you’ve learned something about the DSWD-SAP program from this article, and if you’re interested in learning more, we suggest you visit the DSWD-SAP page on the agency’s website. It has a wealth of information about the program and its implementation, including a full list of the diseases covered by the program (as well as those that aren’t), frequently asked questions from beneficiaries, and contact information for those who need more help or guidance.