The Social Security System (SSS) said it has issued the biometric-based Unified Multi-Purpose Identification System (UMID) card to over four million SSS members at present, with 1.3 million UMID cards issued in 2013. SSS started issuing UMID cards to members in July 2011. Mario Sibucao, SSS Vice President for Member Services, said the number of UMID applications, as reflected by the total number of UMID “data captures,” reached 1.2 million last year, up by 22 percent from about 975,000 in 2012. “Data capture involves members’ registration of demographic and biometric data into the UMID database. The biometric information, particularly the fingerprint scans, are used to protect the system from persons trying to obtain multiple UMID cards to support fraudulent identities,” Sibucao explained. UMID data capture services are available in SSS branches on regular working days, while 13 of these will remain open to UMID applicants every Saturday until June 28, 2014. The SSS branches with Saturday UMID schedules include Alabang, Diliman, Makati-Gil Puyat, Makati-Ayala, Manila, Pasig-Shaw, San Francisco del Monte, Bacoor, Biñan, Dagupan, Bacolod, Cebu and Iloilo. “Mallgoers can also visit SSS Service Offices on Tuesdays until Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. to apply for their UMID card at Ali Mall in Cubao, Star Mall in San Jose del Monte City in Bulacan, and SM City Cebu and Robinsons Fuente, which are both based in Cebu,” Sibucao said. For overseas members, UMID services are open from Mondays to Fridays at 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Philippine Embassy in Abu Dhabi, Brunei, London, Riyadh, Rome and Singapore; the Philippine Consulate in Hong Kong, Jeddah and Milan; and the Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Dubai, Kuwait and Taiwan. Sibucao clarified that cardholders of the previous SSS biometric ID can still use them for SSS transactions and are not required to apply for the UMID. Those who prefer to upgrade to the UMID card must surrender their old SSS ID and pay a replacement fee of P300. However, UMID cards of first-time SSS ID applicants are free of charge. Early this year, the SSS signed an agreement with AllCard Plastics Philippines, Inc. for the installation of nearly 300 self-service Information Terminals in SSS branches nationwide. Once installed, members can tap their UMID cards and scan their fingerprints in these terminals to get secure access to their contributions, loan and benefit records. “We also plan to enable these terminals to accept SSS transactions such as salary loan applications, maternity notifications, compliance with the Annual Confirmation of Pensioners and submission of technical retirement claims, among other services,” Sibucao said. The SSS processes UMID applications in 10 working days, and then forwards the packaged ID cards to the Philippine Postal Corporation for mailing within an average period of two weeks, depending on the member’s address. SSS members with at least one posted contribution can apply for the UMID.(PR)