List of OWWA Financial Cash Assistance Programs

When it comes to programs that offer financial assistance to Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) is the prime agency that comes to mind, thanks to the numerous programs that it has established towards the same end goal since it launched in the late 1970s. These OWWA programs were all created for the same purpose: to help and support the OFWs worldwide as well as their families, in various times of need.  

In this article, we listed all the financial assistance programs made available to OWWA members throughout all migration stages. So, if you are an OWWA member OFW or a beneficiary of one, regardless if you are in the pre-departure to overseas deployment, and reintegration stage, there is an OWWA financial assistance program waiting to support you.

What are the OWWA Cash Assistance Programs?

There are many financial assistance programs offered by OWWA to both OFWs and seafarers in these challenging times. It is good to keep in mind that these programs are cash aids and not loan projects that you need to pay back, which is all the more reason for you to make sure to keep your OWWA membership active. 

Here’s a list of OWWA cash assistance programs available for you to take advantage of if you are a land-based OFW or a seaman:

1. Balik Pinas! Balik Hanapbuhay! (BPBH) Program

The Balik Pinas! Balik Hanapbuhay! (BPBH) Program is a livelihood support assistance project offered by OWWA to help distressed or displaced member OFWs, regardless of membership status. The initiative was meant to help them start a small business through cash assistance ranging from ₱20,000.00 (for active members) to ₱10,000.00 (for inactive members with more than one (1) contribution), and ₱5,000.00 (for inactive OWWA members who only had one (1) contribution). The program also offers Enhanced Entrepreneurship Development Training (EEDT) as well as other services related to starting or managing a business project including marketing linkages and job referrals. 

2. Balik Pinay! Balik Hanapbuhay! Program

The Balik Pinay! Balik Hanapbuhay! Program is an OWWA-initiated program specifically designed to provide Filipino women, particularly the domestic helpers abroad who have been abused or those who did not get their salaries or finish their contracts, with a one-time livelihood assistance grant amounting to ₱10,000.00, along with starter kits and livelihood skills training so they can establish their own businesses back home. With this, OWWA hopes to empower the returning female OFWs while helping them improve their socio-economic well-being and either reduce or totally remove their vulnerabilities as they reintegrate into the society. The ₱10,000.00 grant is broken down into two: with ₱2,500.00 for the training cost, honoraria, supplies, materials,and a demo kit, and the remaining ₱7,500.00 for the starter kit which includes equipment, tools and jigs, raw materials, and small start-up capital.

3. Calamity Assistance

OWWA offers calamity assistance to OFWs and their eligible dependents as a special benefit under the Welfare Assistance Program (WAP). This allows them to avail of a one-time cash assistance ranging from ₱1,000.00 to ₱3,000.00 to help supplement their income in the event that a State of Calamity is declared by either the Local Government Unit (LGU) or the Office of the President due to natural or human-induced calamities or disasters. 

4. Death and Burial Benefits

As part of the OWWA Social Benefits Program, the agency allows active OWWA member OFWs and their beneficiaries may receive cash assistance amounting to up to one hundred thousand pesos (₱100,000.00) for natural deaths and up to two hundred thousand pesos (₱200,000.00) for accidental deaths. On top of these, they also get a one-time funeral grant amounting to twenty thousand pesos (₱20,000.00) to help them bury their loved ones properly. This financial assistance also applies to COVID-19 deaths.

5. Disability Benefits

OWWA also offers support to its members in the form of Disability and Dismemberment benefits via the OWWA Social Benefits Program. Under the program, OFWs who sustained injuries resulting in limited ability to do things (disability) or loss of body use, parts, or function (dismemberment) at work or due to an accident may enjoy cash assistance amounting to up to fifty thousand pesos (₱50,000.00) for partial disability and a maximum of one hundred thousand pesos (₱100,000.00) in cash in the event of total permanent disability. This is meant to help tide them over after the abrupt loss of income due to disability or dismemberment while they get treated and through their recovery.

6. DOLE-AKAP Program

The DOLE-OWWA AKAP for OFWs (DOLE-AKAP) program introduced by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) offers a one-time no-commitment cash assistance amounting to ₱10,000.00 or US$200.00 to OFWs who have lost their jobs or have not received their wages due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was meant to support the advocacy of the Bayanihan to Heal as One-Act and provide “ayuda (help)” to all eligible land-based and sea-based OFWs. Unlike the other OWWA programs, the DOLE-AKAP program is not funded by the government or the OWWA Fund. Instead, all the other administrative expenses for the implementation of the program will be funded using the budget allocated for the DOLE COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program (DOLE-CAMP) with a total fund amounting to ₱1.5 billion pesos. 

7. Education for Development Scholarship Program (EDSP)

The OWWA Education for Development Scholarship Program (EDSP) is yet another scholarship project offered by OWWA to college-age OFW dependents with high academic standing and good scholastic records. It offers educational assistance amounting to ₱30,000.00 to up to ₱60,000.00 per school year for a four- or five-year baccalaureate course in any of their preferred CHED-accredited school or institution, regardless of the OFW’s OWWA membership status.

8. Education and Livelihood Assistance Program (ELAP)

The OWWA Educational and Livelihood Assistance Program (ELAP) is a program designed to help the family of a deceased OFW by providing either one of two types of financial assistance: educational assistance to school-age dependents amounting to ₱5,000.00 (for elementary school students, ₱8,000.00 (for high school students), or ₱10,000.00 (for college students); or livelihood grant worth ₱15,000.00 to the surviving parents or spouses of the deceased OFW.

9. Mariner’s Dugtong Aral (MDA) Program

As the name suggests, this is OWWA Mariner’s “dugtong” Aral (bridging) program is exclusively designed for Filipinos with a bachelor’s degree in either Mechanical Engineering (BSME) or Electrical Engineering (BSEE) and who wish to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Marine Engineering (BSMarE) to become a qualified Marine Officer on ocean-going vessels in the future. It comes in the form of a monetary grant amounting to not more than ₱38,120.00 to pay for tuition fees, along with three (3) months worth of stipend package amounting to ₱15,000.00.

10. OFW Dependents Scholarship Program (ODSP)

The OWWA OFW Dependents Scholarship Program (ODSP) is specifically designed to help the qualified dependents of OFWs whose salary is not more than US$600.00 a month to complete their tertiary education at their preferred state university or college (SUC). It comes in the form of educational assistance amounting to a maximum of ₱20,000 per academic year to pay for their tuition fees for any four-year or five-year degree program or any associate course. Through this program, students can finish an associate or baccalaureate degree for a better, brighter work option in the future.

11. Project EASE Scholarship

Project EASE or OWWA Educational Assistance through Scholarship in Emergencies is basically an educational assistance offered by the agency to qualified college-level dependents of distressed, displaced, or laid off OFWs as art of the component of the CARE amelioration program package for COVID-19 pandemic. As the name suggests, the program offers ₱10,000.00 cash grant per annum for a maximum of four (4) years for one college-level OFW dependent in the family to ease the difficulties of the affected migrant workers who are sending their young ones to school.

12. Seafarers Upgrading Program (SUP)

The OWWA Seafarers Upgrading Program is basically a scholarship grant exclusively designed to develop and “upgrade” the skills of Filipino seafarers. The program aims to help develop and “upgrade” the skills and proficiency in the various technicalities and specialties consistent with the current international maritime standards of active, returning, or first-time Filipino seafarers. It consists of training assistance ranging from ₱1,200.00 to ₱7,500.00 per training course during the first availment at any TESDA, MARINA, or other relevant government agency. It will be available again after the seafarer’s three (3) recorded memberships with OWWA.

13. Skills for Employment Scholarship Program (SESP)

As the name suggests, the Skills for Employment Scholarship Program (SESP) offers educational training assistance for OFWs or their dependents under the OWWA Short-term Training Programs for OFWs and Dependents program. The scholarship is given in the form of a financial grant amounting to as much as ₱14,500.00 per course leading to completion of one- to two-year technical-vocational training in any school accredited by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), MARINA, and other government training institutions. It also offers Php ₱7,250.00 of financial assistance to be issued directly to the training institution should they opt to go for a six-month vocational course instead. These benefits are offered by the agency in the hopes of enhancing the technical and vocational skills of OFWs and their dependents.

14. Supplemental Medical Assistance for OFWs (MEDplus) Program

Known as the Supplemental Medical Assistance for OFWs, this MEDPLUS program offers supplemental medical relief to OFWs who are afflicted with dreaded diseases. It applies to active members of both OWWA and Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) and is meant to provide a one-time medical or financial assistance based on PhilHealth’s case rate system. Through MEDplus, OWWA member OFWs can receive cash assistance of up to fifty thousand pesos (₱50,000.00) per member to help pay for hospital or medical bills for the treatment of dreaded diseases like heart attack, chronic coronary heart disease, stroke, cancer, kidney failure, and major organ transplant.

15. Tabang OFW Scholarship

The Tertiary Education Subsidy for Dependents of Repatriated OFWs (Tabang OFW) Program is yet another educational assistance program jointly implemented by DOLE, OWWA, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), and the Unified Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education Act (UNIFAST). Through the program, these agencies offer a one-time cash grant amounting to ₱30,000.00 to one (1) college-level dependent of OFWs who have lost their jobs, have had their salaries reduced, have been repatriated, and have passed away due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

16. Tulong Pangkabuhayan sa Pag-unlad ng Samahang OFWs (Tulong PUSO) Program

The Tulong Pangkabuhayan sa Pag-unlad ng Samahang OFWs (Tulong PUSO) Program is a collaborative reintegration initiative launched by DOLE, OWWA, CDA, and SEC for repatriated, distressed, and displaced OFWs. Through the program, micro, small, medium, and large OFW groups and organizations receive funds to help OFWs with viable, sustainable, and income-generating projects through a one-time financial grant ranging from ₱150,000.00 to  ₱1 million pesos.

Frequently Asked Questions

For your reference, here is a list of the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) and answers about the OWWA Financial Assistance Programs:

1. What is the OWWA Financial Assistance for Seafarers?

Seafarers or sea-based OFWs may apply for any of the OWWA financial assistance programs listed above. The available financial assistance programs for seaman (or seawoman) are also the same programs available for land-based OFWs, except for those programs that were specifically designed for them like the Seafarers Upgrading Program (SUP) and the Mariner’s Dugtong Aral (MDA) program. These two are only for seafarers and are not available to land-based OFWs instead. 

2. How do I apply for cash assistance from OWWA?

If you believe that you meet the qualifying criteria for any of these OWWA programs, then you can simply head to the nearest OWWA Regional Welfare office closest to your permanent address in the Philippines to submit an application. But, if you are still overseas and you wish to avail of any of the financial assistance programs offered by OWWA, you can check with the nearest POLO-OWWA offices about how to avail of them. Just make sure you reach out to the POLO-OWWA office first to see if they require a confirmed appointment first or if they have other requirements for the program you are interested in. 

3. Can I apply for and avail of the benefits of more than one of these financial assistance programs at the same time? 

It depends. For the livelihood programs, no. For the scholarship programs, most don’t allow the availment of more than one program benefit for one beneficiary, but some programs allow applying for another program for another child beneficiary. For the social benefits programs, you may apply as needed, if you meet the qualifying criteria. 

4. Is there a contact number or contact person I can reach out to for questions or concerns regarding the OWWA financial assistance programs?

Yes. You may contact OWWA Cares through the 24/7 Operation Center which has the following contact information:

Landline: (+632)833-OWWA or (+632)833-6992
Globe Hotline: 2917 (Press “3” for OWWA)
Mobile/SMS text messaging: (0917)TXT-OWWA or (0917)898-6992
Fax: +63-2-8040638
Email address:

Video: List of OWWA Benefits, Programs, and Services for OFWs and their Dependents

OWWA’s mandate has always been about the protective service and support geared towards the millions of OFWs worldwide as well as their families. In this video posted by The Pinoy OFW, OWWA Deputy Administrator, Mocha Uson, shares about the OWWA programs, both financial, educational, and assistance programs, that all OFWs are welcome to take advantage of. 

Watch this video to learn more about them:


Regardless of whether you are a land-based or a sea-based OFW, OWWA offers numerous financial assistance programs that can help you especially in your times of need. These programs include livelihood assistance, educational assistance, medical support, disability and dismemberment, and other benefits for you and your family.

Most of these programs are no-commitment cash grants, too, which means that they are not loans that you will need to pay back later. While most of them are available to active OWWA members, there are also some programs that are available to inactive OWWA members. Nevertheless, it’s still best to keep your OWWA membership active so make sure you renew your membership every two (2) years by paying ₱1,250.00 or US$25.00 to ensure optimum benefits. 

Also, before you apply for any of these financial assistance programs, make sure that you meet the qualifications and requirements to avoid wasting your time and efforts. 

Disclaimer: While all the information presented here is updated at the time of writing, do note that these can change without prior notice so it’s best to make it a habit to check with OWWA, either via the OWWA mobile app or the various OWWA RWOs or POLO-OWWA offices for the latest requirements and updates. You may also visit the OWWA official website of OWWA at or follow their official Facebook page at

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