Monthly Archives: September 2017

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Pohnpei State Legislature calls FSM Social Security Administration for a Public Hearing

Category : Press Releases

On the afternoon of July 11, 2017, a public hearing was held at the Legislature Conference Room with the Committee of Health. For the purpose of obtaining information and updates, the committee called upon the FSM Social Security Administration for a hearing.

At the onset, Senator Shelten Neth, Chairman of Health Committee, opened with introductions and welcoming remarks. Present on their behalf was Chairman Neth including Vice Chairman Etschiet, Vice Chairman of J&Go Amor, Vice Chairman of Finance Committee Isaac, and Senator Ioanis, member. Also present were Assistant AG Johnny, Director of State Finance Perman and Councilwoman Reim.

On the other side, Pohnpei Branch Manager Leon Panuelo Jr. was present on behalf of Social Security Administration.

Chairman Neth opened up and welcomed everyone present, and introduced the purpose of the hearing, which was to follow up on the status of the FSMSSA and be informed about more recent information.

A discussion was kicked off about the changes with Social Security Benefits and the purpose of the changes, as well as suggestions of joined benefits between the FSMSSA and the United States. Another general question was based on the Voluntary Contributions plan that the system has, and suggestions for Public Awareness on current information about the program were provided. The people of FSM especially farmers, fishermen and others need to be informed about such programs, as awareness of the existence of such programs was not widespread.

Other concerns touched on the retirement age and why it is as is. Branch Manager Panuelo, on the Administration’s behalf provided a presentation that really brought their attention to the issues the program is faced with. He mentioned that the changes were needed for the sake of a livelong program, for the benefit of today’s citizens and future generations. All changes are based on studies which results in funding. In line with funding, actuarial studies are necessary to gauge the current and future sustainability of the program. In terms of the Voluntary Contributions plan, there are still active members, mostly abroad, and information on the plan could be found on the Social Security website,

Therefore, FSMSSA looks forward to improvement of public awareness on this plan. Mr. Panuelo further stated that the program has been doing its best to do amendments that would sustain the life of Social Security for its citizens.

The hearing was a great opportunity to disseminate information to the leadership of Pohnpei and garner its support in the administration’s efforts to improve the program.


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FSMSS Board, FSM Banking Board and FSM Insurance Board Collaborate for Public Forum

Category : Press Releases

In the past, the FSM Social Security Board of Trustees had held public forums in the four states as a way to directly hear the public’s questions or concerns regarding the FSM Social Security Administration.

To coincide with its 3rd Regular Meeting of 2017, the board scheduled a public forum for the people of Kosrae on September 15 in the annex of the Kosrae State Legislature chambers. In an unprecedented move, the forum was held in collaboration between the FSM Social Security Board of Trustees, the FSM Banking Board and the FSM Insurance Board.

This allowed the citizens of Kosrae a chance to ask questions not just on social security but also on banking and insurance in the FSM.

The FSMSS Board of Trustees consisted of Chairman Jack Harris, Vice-chairman Vincent Tafileluw, Trustee Nakama Sana, Trustee Kohsak Keller and Administrator Alexander R. Narruhn serving as ex-officio member.

While the FSM Banking Board and FSM Insurance Board were legally two separate entities, the members were the same for both boards. The members were Chairman Alexander R. Narruhn, Lt. Governor Reed Oliver and Joe Habuchmai.

Before the floor was opened for questions from the audience, each of the three entities made a short presentation on general information for each entity and the challenges they faced. The FSM Social Security Administrator Alexander R. Narruhn, FSM Insurance Commissioner Jesse Giltamag and FSM Banking Commissioner Nakama Sana each made a presentation about their respective agencies.

While the turnout did not meet expectations due to other public events that occurred in Kosrae on the same day, the questions and concerns that were raised by the audience proved to be insightful and helpful. The representatives of the three entities were able to identify some of the issues that the citizens of Kosrae were facing with regards to social security, banking and insurance.

The audience was assured that their concerns were noted with the promise that the entities would dedicate their efforts to resolving those issues.

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FSMSS Board of Trustees Meets for its 3rd Regular Meeting of 2017

Category : Board News , Press Releases

For its third regular meeting of the year, the FSM Social Security Board of Trustees met in Pohnpei on September 9 and then continued the rest of its meeting in Kosrae on September 13.

The meeting was originally scheduled to take place in Kosrae, however, the board felt it prudent to attend to appeal cases which had been recently submitted from the state of Pohnpei.

Present at the meeting were Chairman Jack Harris representing Pohnpei, Vice-chairman Vincent Tafileluw representing Yap, Trustee Nakama Sana representing Chuuk, Trustee Kohsak Keller representing the National Government and Administrator Alexander R. Narruhn, serving as ex-officio member.

The major item on the agenda was a number of amendments to the law which Administrator Alexander R. Narruhn had come up with to combat the ongoing challenge of benefit payouts exceeding tax collections. Among the changes was an amendment to the tax provisions to allow collection of social security taxes from fishing vessels within the FSM waters. Early estimates indicated that this would net an additional $1.755 million in yearly tax collections. The administrator said the additional collections would go a long way in helping the program’s shortfall between collections and payouts.

As far back as the mid 2000s, the administration had been withdrawing funds from its Trust Fund to cover the shortfall. The FSM National Government had also been injecting funds into the system for the same purpose. The amendments were aimed at bridging the gap between collections and payouts thereby lessening the need for constant investment withdrawals. The other amendments include placing a cap on benefits, eliminating the taxable wage base, giving more options for retirees and other changes that were designed to help the administration in its efforts to make the system more sustainable.

Narruhn revealed to the board that he would be submitting another bill to congress for a $10 million loan from the National Government. This amount would be invested and earnings from this portfolio would help cover the difference between collections and benefits.

The board expressed its support of the amendments and encouraged the administration to finalize and submit the bills as soon as feasible.

For the last item of the agenda, the administration presented to the board the financial statements and tax collection report for the previous quarter.

The Chairman of the Board, Jack Harris, expressed his gratitude for a successful meeting. The other members echoed this sentiment.

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FSMSSA welcomes new hires on board

Category : Press Releases

The FSM Social Security Administration, in servicing the island nation’s citizens, holds public awareness of the program and its affairs a priority.

FSM Social Security hires new Branch Assistant Manager

The FSMSSA Pohnpei Branch office announced a vacancy for the Assistant Manager position. Many capable individuals applied and as per procedure, one person was selected out of the many qualified individuals that applied.

The Assistant Manager at the branch office plays a very important role in the work structure of the office for its aim is to assist in ensuring that the requirements of FSM Social Security Law and FSM Social Security Administration policies, processes, procedures and practices are fully fulfilled at State level and that government’s and public’s understanding is good of what are the requirements and benefits of FSM Social Security Law, in particular for employers, employees and beneficiaries.

It requires great dedication and much energy, therefore, after a very careful selection; Trueleen J. Albert was hired as the new Pohnpei Branch Assistant Manager. Trueleen is a local from the village of Saladak in Uh municipality, Pohnpei State. She is married with three kids and a grandson. When not in the office, she dedicates her time to her family. She graduated from Saladak Elementary, then on to Bethania High School in Palau and the Community College of Micronesia as it was called before and received her certificates in General Studies.

In mid 1990’s, she worked various jobs, as she was employed at the Pohnpei State Office of Personnel, Labor & Manpower, Division of JTPA. Six years later, another opportunity called and she was then employed at the Peace Corps office FSM/Palau. She served in this job until she was employed on July 26, 2017 at the State Social Security office as Assistant Branch Manager.

Truleen was indeed very appreciative for another opportunity to serve the citizens of the country. She personally mentioned she was grateful for the opportunity to gain new knowledge and experience, and looked forward to the challenges the position brings. She looks forward to getting to know everyone and help continue the work done to support the senior citizens of the nation.

When asked what her vision or goal was, she replied, “My vision or goal as an employee is to take this new journey with an honest approach and open minded in enforcing policies, procedures and assisting both employers/employees in compliance to social security tax regulations, avail myself in serving social security beneficiaries with good judgment.”

With the nature of work at FSMSSA, Trueleen expects all to be a team for team work is the key to a healthy working environment. Moreover, everyone is expected to be professional and respectful of each other. It would always help if in such working environment, constructive feedback be provided to each other for the purpose of being accountable and responsible.

FSMSSA welcomes Mrs. Trueleen J. Albert aboard and look forward to be benefited for she would be an asset to the program.

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FSM Social Security Administration hires new Tax Assistant

Twenty-four years old Johnny-lu Panuel was hired as the Tax Assistant in the Tax Collection Division at the FSM Social Security Administration on August 7, 2017.

Responsibilities for this position include assisting the Tax Administration Officer’s duties of enforcing quarterly Social Security tax payment and employer’s reporting requirements. This position reports directly to the Tax Administration Officer. This is a very team-oriented and highly interactive position specifically with all the branch offices.

Mr. Panuel was well suited and qualified for the challenges inherent to the position. Panuel is from Pohnpei. He is a college graduate with an AA degree in Liberal Arts. His other notable education achievement was graduating from Xavier High School.

Johnny-lu has began his work experience in the private sector as the Assistant Manager and cashier at Gleetoes Store from 2012 until 2017. Earlier this year he was the Data Encoder at International Organization for Migration (IOM), until he was hired at the FSM Social Security as the Tax Assistant.

Upon being hired, he felt privileged and was excited to be a part of the FSMSSA’s efforts to accomplish its goals. He further stated, “Clear communication, team work and team effort is what I hope for when it comes to work and coworkers.” He wishes to give his best and is thankful for the opportunity to be part of the team serving the citizens of the FSM.

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