How to Qualify for ($200) DOLE AKAP Cash Assistance

These are the guidelines for the provision of cash assistance by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) for the benefit of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and Seafarers in response to the call of President Duterte who imposed a travel ban.

What is DOLE Cash Assistance?

Also known as “DOLE-AKAP for OFWs”, this refers to the disbursement of funds amounting to $200 or ₱10,000 equivalent to the local currency of the host country.

The application for DOLE’s cash assistance will be done by filling out an online form. Priority will be given to countries with satellite offices of Philippine Overseas Labor (POLO) namely:

How to Qualify for $200 DOLE AKAP Cash Assistance

Who are Eligible to Apply for Cash Assistance?

  1. It includes OFWs who are not able to work because their host country has imposed a total lockdown or community quarantine.
  2. Must still be overseas in their host countries, returning OFWs to the Philippines, or Balik-Manggagawa or OFWs exiting the Philippines to return to work but can’t leave due to the travel ban and imposition of the lockdown.
  3. OFWs who have not received financial assistance from their host countries or employers.

Step-by-Step Process in Filling Out the Application Form

Let’s go through all the steps one by one:

  1. Go to dole-akap.owwa.gov.ph
  2. Enter the required information. Fields with a red asterisk are required. The details needed are as follows:
    • Last name
    • First name
    • Birthdate
    • Gender
    • Passport No.
    • Contact number
    • Email address
    • Address (region, province, municipality, barangay, street)
    • Country of Deployment

    Note: In case you’ll be sending a representative, be sure to fill out the lower portion of the form with all his or her details.

  3. Click on the “Next” button.
  4. Click the button to upload your required documents. A list of those are contained in the next section.
  5. After the submission of all required documents, the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) will validate the documents and then reach out to the OFW, notifying him or her about the status of the application within 5 working days.
  6. If approved, the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) will release the funds amounting to ₱10,000 or its equivalent in the local currency of the host country via bank transfer or money remittance.

Requirements to qualify for Cash Assistance

For On-Site OFWs/ OFWs in their host countries

  1. Completed online application form found on the DOLE-AKAP site at: http://dole-akap.owwa.gov.ph/
  2. A copy of passport or travel document
  3. Proof of overseas employment
    • Valid verified overseas employment
    • Residence IDs
    • Overseas employment certificate (OEC)
    • Visa or re-entry visa
    • Permit to stay in the host country
    • Proof to show loss of employment because of COVID-19
  • For OFWs who become undocumented because of circumstances beyond their control, show proof attesting to the fact such as:
    • Case reference Number
    • Case endorsement authenticated by POLO

For OFWs Who’ve Repatriated/ Balik-Manggagawa

  1. Completed online application form found on the DOLE-AKAP at: http://dole-akap.owwa.gov.ph/
  2. A copy of passport or travel document
  3. Proof of overseas employment
  • Valid verified overseas employment
  • Residence IDs
  • Overseas employment certificate (OEC)
  • Visa or re-entry visa
  • Permit to stay in the host country
  • Proof to show loss of employment because of COVID-19

Best Benefits of Dole Cash Assistance

Aside from stating the obvious in that the provision of cash assistance is to supplement the income that’s been lost because of emergencies like the current lock-down or when one is laid off from work.

  1. Its main goal is first to help sustain the individual’s or family’s basic requirement for food. Next, would be to provide a small allowance to help individuals improve themselves and their lives through education or livelihood.
  2. Cash assistance costs less than when providing in-kind support like rice grains and canned goods. The expense of having to pay the people who help get the items from its place of origin to the doorsteps of the recipients.
  3. People who receive cash assistance have the option to select what they want to spend it on unlike when in-kind items are given.
  4. The effect of in-kind items ends when the recipient get the goods. With cash assistance, small business owners, farmers, and small-time day traders could benefit from the income hence, providing food for them as well.Not only does this boost the morale of those who receive cash assistance, it also helps boosts the country’s economy even at a small-scale level.

Most Asked Questions

When will I get the financial assistance I applied for?

After passing the requirements, the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) will validate the documents regarding the status of your application.

If approved, they will release the funds amounting to ₱10,000 or its equivalent in the local currency of the host country via bank transfer or money remittance.

Is the OWWA App available for both Android and IOS phones?

Yes, they are.

Will OFWs scheduled to return to work but are unable to still be eligible to receive DOLE’s cash assistance?

Yes, they are. Below are the steps for them to avail of it:

  1. Completed online application form found on the DOLE-AKAP site at: dole-akap.owwa.gov.ph
  2. A copy of passport or travel document
  3. Proof of overseas employment
  • Valid verified overseas employment
  • Residence IDs
  • Overseas employment certificate (OEC)
  • Visa or re-entry visa
  • Permit to stay in the host country
  • Proof to show loss of employment because of COVID-19

How will return OFWs quarantine in a hotel upon arrival from abroad avail of the cash assistance?

All they need to do is to complete the application form found on the DOLE -AKAP site at: dole-akap.owwa.gov.ph. Next, upload the necessary requirements. Once done, the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) will validate the documents and then reach out to the OFW, notifying him or her about the status of the application within 5 working days.

I arrived in the Philippines early this year (Feb – Mar 2020). We could not leave because of the lockdown. Are we not eligible for DOLE-AKAP’s cash assistance?

You can complete the application form found on the DOLE -AKAP site at: dole-akap.owwa.gov.ph. Next, upload the necessary requirements. Once done, the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) will validate the documents and then reach out to the OFW, notifying him or her about the status of the application within 5 working days.

If your application is approved, you can get your funds.

How come I did not receive an email after I filled out the online application form?

The site usually sends a confirmation that your submission was successful. If you haven’t, you can fill out the form once more.

Afterward, the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) will need to validate the documents you submitted. They will contact you within 5 working days regarding the status of your application.

What if it’s past 5 days and I’ve not received a response from OWWA regarding the status of my application?

This may due to the volume of requests. Rest assured that your applications are in process. Check your email from time to time for any updates.

I always receive an error when filling out the application form?

You may try the following troubleshooting steps:

  1. Check if your internet connection is stable.
  2. You may try switching browsers. If you’re a Windows PC user, you can use Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, or Firefox. On the other hand, if you’re a Macbook user, you can switch between Google Chrome and Safari. If you don’t have those downloaded on your desktops, you can always do so free of charge.
  3. Try clearing your browsers cached files and cookies. Doing so won’t erase your bookmarked passwords. All it does is clear your browser’s temporary files so that your browser doesn’t get confused with the volume of information you access.

When DOLE-AKAP posts about individuals who’ve received their cash assistance, why are their names blurred?

In compliance with the Republic Act 10173 – Data Privacy Act of 2012, the sharing of personal information is prohibited unless there is explicit permission from the individual. For now, it is enough to know that the government is doing its best to disburse funds to all who are eligible as quickly as possible.

Should I have an Overseas Employment Certificate to get the cash assistance? Where do I get a copy?

Yes, it is one of the requirements, and you should have one. It is a document that certifies you are an OFW and also serves as proof that you are a registered member of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA). Once at the airport, this is shown to the immigration officer upon exit from the Philippines.

Tips on waiting on the Results for Cash Assistance

Many times, when you’re in a rush to get something, it feels like the period of waiting is too long. Here are some tips you could benefit from while waiting for your funds.

  1. Be sure you’ve followed the instructions on how to apply for DOLE-AKAPs cash assistance. If you haven’t go ahead and fill out the form found on http://dole-akap.owwa.gov.ph/.
  2. If you’ve filled out the form and submitted the necessary documents, wait patiently for a response from the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO). They will validate your documents and then will reach out to you to let you know about the status of your application.
  3. I know you’re all expecting to get the funds. However, you must also have back-up plans as to where you’d get funds in case your application isn’t approved.
  4. What do you if you think the verdict from OWWA is unfair, reach out to the office nearest you for any questions.
  5. Going back to tip 3, plan on how you can get funds to sustain you. Entertain the possibility of temporarily working from home. There’s no harm in trying. Most companies now hire virtually. Training is conducted online. Most companies also provide their employees with the necessary resources like a phone and computer.
  6. Tap other sources of financial assistance. Do you have immediate family you can turn to to help you through this difficult time?
  7. If you can spare a little bit of cash, putting up a small-time business can also help tide you over for at least a few weeks. Not only businesses are closed. We have individuals who put up small businesses to create safety materials for our front-liners like masks, and PPE uniforms. You’ll be doing your part in helping battle COVID-19.
  8. Perhaps, if you still can’t get funds, and as a last resort, you can sell some items you own to your friends within the vicinity.

Best Ideas on How to Handle Your Money Properly

  1. Create a budget plan for food, water, and emergencies.
  2. Expenses on fast food, Starbucks coffee and other leisure activities can be trimmed down by making homemade food items. There are many YouTube videos you can learn from.
  3. Cut-down on unnecessary expenses like spending on cigarettes and soda drinks.
  4. Check other expenses you’re no longer using during the quarantine like pool and gym memberships.
  5. Use the time to arrange your stuff. You may have items you aren’t using and could sell for a small profit.
  6. Consider doing your own haircut and nail care at home instead of going to a salon.
  7. Check out small businesses you can easily set up. There are many online selling businesses now. With the right research, you may be able to offer an item that people really need.
  8. Try purchasing from small-time vendors if possible instead of large retail stores. Most would be willing to sell their items at the price both of you agree on.
  9. There’s a saying, “buy low, sell high.” The financial markets are down. If you have some expertise in property or stock trading, and with the proper research, you may be able to make a purchase that you can earn from later to set you up as everyone goes through reintegration.

Key Takeaways

  • In this period of COVID-19, all kinds of news spreads fast. How do you know what’s real from what isn’t? Read from reliable sources so you won’t get overwhelmed with the volume of information that gets shared.
  • You may not be totally happy with how things are run now, but the most you can do is to at least have a little faith that things will be alright. You can do your part and follow what needs to be done.
  • Communication is key. If there’s one thing COVID-19 is teaching us, it’s to value our relationships with friends, family, and co-workers. Keep reaching out.
  • We now see the value of people we may have been taking for granted before like our farmers, our hospital workforce, our security and army personnel and so many more.
  • Anyone can reach out to other people in need regardless of financial status. If you can, you can always help even one. Don’t feel bad either if you can’t.
  • Our government is doing its best. We have to believe that even if we read and listen to information that says otherwise. COVID-19 is a global crisis no one was really prepared for and everyone is struggling to cope with it.

 

Maggie

Mag's is a market research editing and graphic design manager based in Qatar. As a freelance writer and editor, he covers personal finance, travel, careers, education, pet care and automotive.

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