The benefits under the Solo Parent Act (RA 8972) do not apply automatically. Any solo parent falling within the purview of the law may apply for support following Sections 7 and 8 which states that:
Section 7. Criteria for Support – Any solo parent whose Income in the place of domicile falls equal to or below the poverty threshold as set by the NSCB and subject to the assessment of the duly appointed or designated social worker in the ‘area shall be eligible for assistance: Provided, however, That any solo parent whose income is above the poverty threshold shall enjoy the benefits mentioned in Sections 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21 and 23 of these Rules. For purposes of the Act and these Rules, the place of domicile shall refer to the residence mentioned in Section 8(a) of these Rules.
Section 8. Qualifications of Solo Parent – A solo parent seeking benefits other than those provided for under Sections 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21 and 23 of these Rules shall be qualified on the basis of the following:(a) (a) A resident of the area where the assistance is sought as certified by the barangay captain. (b) (b) With an income level equal to or below the poverty threshold as set forth by NSCB and assessed by a social worker as provided for under Section 7 of these Rules.
The law further states that an applicant who manifests the need for assistance under the Act is subject to assessment by a social worker at the city/municipal Social Welfare and Development Office. The assessment shall cover, but not be limited to, the following: (a) (a) Determination of the applicant’s category as enumerated in Article III Section 6 paragraph (b) of these Rules; (b) (b) Evaluation of the needs of the applicant and his/her children as basis for provision of the appropriate service and intervention;(c) (c) Identification of the level of readiness of the applicant to receive a particular service/assistance, which shall serve as basis for the conduct of social preparation activities prior to the provision of such service/assistance; and (d) (d) Identification of existing and potentially available resources that may support the applicant and his/her children. (Section 9)
The procedure is easy any Solo parent for that matter who needs assistance under the Act shall comply with the following process;
STEP ONE (a) Visit the Social Welfare and Development Office of the city or municipality of her/his residence to manifest her/his need for assistance;
STEP TWO (b) Fill up application form for the assistance indicating, but not limited to, the following information: 1. 1. Name2. 2. Age3. 3. Address/Area of Domicile4. 4. Income per month5. 5. Source/s of Income6. 6. Number of children7. 7. Circumstances of being solo;
STEP THREE (c) Undergo the necessary assessment process as stipulated by law and that may be further explained by the Social Welfare Officer.
STEP FOUR (d) A social Case Study Report shall be prepared by the social worker based on the information/data provided for by the applicant, as well as his/her assessment of said applicant, indicating therein the appropriate services needed.
STEP FIVE (e) The Social Case Study Report, together with a referral letter prepared by the social worker, shall be forwarded by the Office of the City/Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office to the agency concerned providing the appropriate assistance/service.
STEP SIX (f) The social worker shall inform the solo parent of the status of his/her application within thirty (30) working days from the filing of such and shall require him/her to visit the agency/institution providing the assistance. In case the applicant is not qualified for services under this Act, he/she will be referred to the appropriate agency/program for assistance.
STEP SEVEN (g) Upon the favorable evaluation of the social worker, a Solo Parent Identification Card shall be issued to the solo parent within 30 days upon application duly signed by the city/municipal Social Welfare Officer and the city/municipal mayor. The Solo Parent Identification Card is necessary for the availment of benefits under the Act and these Rules. Such Identification Card shall be valid for only one (1) year, but may be renewed subject to a new assessment and evaluation;
STEP EIGHT (h) For the public’s information and guidance, a list of persons who applied and those who were able to avail of the benefits under this Act shall be made available by the concerned city/municipal social welfare and development office which processed their applications.
An applicant does not have to know the 8-step process by heart. The most important act is to take the first step of making a little effort to go through STEP ONE. The step which required the solo parent to visit the Social Welfare and Development Office of the city or municipality of her/his residence to manifest her/his need for assistance. Just be prepared to bring the documents mentioned in this article.