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, www.fsmssa.fm.
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.