Who are Qualified and How to Apply for Social Amelioration Program Cash Assistance

Last night, I got a chance to talk to my friend who just received ₱8,000 from the Social Amelioration Program.

She is part of the Informal Economy Workers who is currently on a ‘No Work, No Pay’ status due to the Enhanced Community Quarantine.

She is happy with the cash aid that she received and she said it’s a huge help for her family. She’s thankful that the government doesn’t only provide assistance to the poorest of the poor but also to affected workers like her.

If you’re wondering what SAP is and how to avail of this program, this article is for you.

What is Social Amelioration Program or SAP?

SAP is a cash emergency subsidy program (ESP) for 18 million Filipino families whose lives are greatly affected by the ECQ. It’s mandated by the new law, the Bayanihan To Heal As One Act, which was signed by the President last March 25, 2020.

The program is headed by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), in cooperation with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Finance (DOF), Department of Budget and Management (DBM), and Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

How much can you receive from the SAP

Families who qualify for the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) can receive cash assistance of at least ₱5,000 up to ₱8,000 per month for two months.

The amount varies, depending on the prevailing regional minimum wage rates. For NCR residents, qualified families can receive ₱8,000.

  • Families that live in one house or compound can apply separately.
  • Families with more than one qualifying factor may not receive two cash assistance. It means if you have a senior citizen and a pregnant member in the family, you would still get one cash assistance.

This is based on the Joint Memorandum Circular No. 1. Series 2020, signed by the implementing departments.

Who are qualified to receive SAP

SAP’s priority are those who belong in the informal sector whose livelihood has been most affected by the ECQ. It includes the poorest of the poor and families who need cash assistance the most including:

  1. Senior Citizen
  2. Persons with Disability (PWD)
  3. Pregnant or breastfeeding
  4. Solo parent
  5. OFWs in Distress
  6. Indigent Families
  7. Underprivileged Sector and Homeless Citizens
  8. Informal Economy Workers (kasambahay, PUV at private vehicle drivers, construction workers, at iba pang mga daily wage earners)


Are 4Ps Members Qualified for SAP?

Families under the DSWD’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) are automatically qualified and are priority beneficiaries of SAP.

These include the farmers, fisherfolk, homeless families, indigenous peoples, those in the informal sector, those in geographically isolated areas, and those in areas with no electricity.

How to apply for SAP Cash Assistance

The list of SAP beneficiaries will come from the database of the DSWD and other implementing agencies. The LGUs will also submit their list of families in need of cash assistance and are greatly affected due to the prolonged ECQ.

The LGUs through the barangays will distribute Social Amelioration Cards (SAC) for each family. This will be the DSWD’s basis for validating if a family that’s not in their database is qualified to receive SAP.

Check your local barangay or municipality/city for announcements as to which families were approved to receive SAP and when or how it will be distributed. The DSWD posts the schedules of cash aid when it is turned over to LGUs for distribution.

In our barangay, the SAP cash assistance was given to the beneficiaries on May 3, 2020.

How to Fill Out the Social Amelioration Card or SAC?

To apply for the Social Amelioration Program, you should fill up the SAC properly.

  • Make sure you write your name clearly. Write your name in capital letters.
  • Make sure the names of your family members are correct. Double check the spelling.
  • The first name in the list of family members will be the next contact person in case you are not available.
  • Fill out the SAC form completely.
  • Do not forget to affix your signature in the SAC form.

You need to fill out 2 copies of the SAC form. One is for the government and the other one is your personal copy. Keep it properly as it will be the reference for the benefits or assistance that you will receive from the government.

If you qualify, you will need proof of identification, a certification that you were temporarily/permanently laid off from your job, and other documents that support your claim.

Other Cash Assistance Programs

Aside from the Social Amelioration Program, the government has also rolled out other assistance programs including:

  • DSWD’s Food and non-food items, or relief goods in-kind and Livelihood Assistance Grants (LAG), or financial assistance for qualified sustainable livelihood program (SLP) beneficiaries whose livelihoods were affected by the declaration of community quarantine
  • DOLE’s CAMP or Tulong Pangkabuhayan sa Displaced/Underprivileged Workers (TUPAD)
  • COVID-19 Pondo Para 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)
  • DTI’s Livelihood Seeding Program/Negosyo sa Serbisyo sa Barangay program that facilitates processing of business registration and provides technical, financial, and business management assistance to MSMEs
  • DA’s Cash Assistance for Farmers Survival and Recovery (SURE) Assistance for marginalized, small farmers and fishers recovery package

social amelioration program guidelines


Who are considered Indigent or Indigenous people? 

Indigents are families or tribes certified as poor by field offices of the DSWD or National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR).

Indigenous people are families living in recognized ancestral grounds and who forage, hunt, and gather or part of informal workers as verified by the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) or tribal chieftain/council of elders.

Who are considered part of the underprivileged sector?

The underprivileged sector include families whose income falls within the poverty threshold set by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

Who are considered part of the Informal Economy Workers sector?

Informal economy workers include:

  • directly hired or occasional workers employed on an irregular basis and whose salary is entirely dependent upon completion of work he or she was hired to do (e.g., plumber, laundry maid, etc.)
  • subcontracted workers as set by Articles 106 and 107 of the Labor Code.
  • home workers or any person who performs his job, in whole or in part, at home, which is purchased directly or indirectly by an employer (e.g., family business that involves craft-making or food production and processing)
  • house helpers or kasambahays, as defined in the Kasambahay Law or the Domestic Workers Act of 2013, who are not receiving salaries from their employers or cannot report to work due to the quarantine
  • public transportation drivers or drivers of pedicabs, tricycles, jeepneys, buses, taxis, Transport Network Companies (TNC) and Transport Network Vehicle Service (TNVS), such as Grab, Angkas, and Joyride drivers, provided that the vehicles they drive are owned by another person and their income depends on the boundary system. Public transportation drivers who own the vehicles they drive are still eligible if their income solely depends on it.
  • micro-entrepreneurs, producers, and distributors who operate independent, small-scale enterprises, distributors of goods and services, or enterprises with an asset (land) size of less than Php100,000. (e.g., owners of sari-sari stores)
  • family enterprise owners operating or managing small businesses such as retail, food production, vending, including but not limited to carinderia owners, fruit and vegetable vendors, street vendors, etc.
  • sub-minimum wage owners are any person who earns below minimum wage salaries and is the sole income-earner of the family
  • farmers, fishermen, and farm workers or persons engaged in agriculture- and fisheries-related businesses, farm services, and secondary processing whose monthly income falls under the poverty line employees affected by the “no-work, no-pay” policy or cannot report to work due to the quarantine who are are not covered by the DOLE’s COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP). (Source: Smart Parenting)

I believe I am qualified for SAP but I did not receive the SAC.

You may coordinate with your barangay to inquire if you are qualified. If you are qualified, ask them how you can get the Social Amelioration Card to avail of the cash assistance from the government.

Our family is a member of 4Ps, do we need to fill out the Social Amelioration Card? 

You don’t need to fill out the SAC. Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps members are automatically qualified. You cash assistance will be credited directly to your account.

I have a family member who is an OFW, but his work is affected by the pandemic. Can I avail of SAP? 

If you or a family member is an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) in distress, repatriated or banned to travel outside the country, since January 2020, due to the COVID-19 global health crisis, you may apply for the SAP cash aid.

Who are considered as social amelioration program beneficiaries?

SAP is for those who have been greatly affected by the ECQ including the senior citizens, PWDs, pregnant and lactating moms, solo parents, affected OFWs, indigent and indigenous people, underprivileged sector, and informal economy workers.

Where can I get the social amelioration form?

If you are in the list of SAP beneficiaries in your barangay, you will be given the social amelioration card or SAC.

Where can I find the complete social amelioration program guidelines? 

Click here to see DSWD’s social amelioration program guidelines.

Where can I find the list of social amelioration program for drivers list of beneficiaries?

Click here to see DSWD SAP for Drivers List of Beneficiaries.

I  received SAP cash assistance, but only half of what I expected? 

DSWD has released a statement that each qualified household is to receive the emergency subsidy in full. Their guidelines do not allow for splitting allotted subsidy amongst several different households.

If you did not receive the cash assistance in fu

ll, coordinate with your barangay or call DSWD.

How do I contact DSWD? 

DSWD’s hotline is +63 (28) 951-2803. If you are in Metro Manila, dial 8, then 951-2803.

How much is the social amelioration program budget?

Consistent with spirit of the “Bayanihan to Heal as One Act”, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has released a total of ₱199.975-Billion to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to fund its Social Amelioration Program (SAP).

Will there be a Second Tranche of SAP Cash Assistance? 

DSWD Spokesperson Irene Dumlao said the LGUs that fully complied with the requirements can expect to receive the second tranche of the emergency assistance on May 20 at the earliest.

“The second tranche has not been released to LGUs yet. As per our guidelines, LGUs that have completed their payouts must submit within 15 days their liquidation reports including the encoded list of SAP beneficiaries,” she told reporters in a Viber message.

She further explained that the DSWD will conduct validation to ensure that recipients of emergency subsidy are eligible and that there are no cases of duplication.

Watch this video by ANC 24/7 to know more about the Social Amelioration Program.

Click here to read:

How to Apply for the Small Business Wage Subsidy through the SSS?


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