FSMSSA Board of Trustees holds its 4th Regular Meeting
FSMSSA Board of Trustees 4th regular meeting was held on December 4, 2017 . All board members including Chairman Jack Harris, Vice-Chairman Vincent Tafileluw, member Nakama Sana, member Kohsak Keller and ex-officio Administrator Narruhn were present including two FSMSSA staff, Comptroller Teresita Dayao and IT Manager Midion Neth Jr. The agenda was met as they entertained new business, which was based on Calendar Year 2018 proposed budget and very crucial items which needed discussion. The meeting followed the Board’s usual Agenda. Administrator Narruhn did an update, briefing the history of the system. The FSMSSA is one of the successor systems from the former Trust Territory Social Security System that closed its operation on March 31, 1988. The FSMSSA began its full operation on January 1, 1988. It is financed by employer/employee contributions at a rate of 7.5% each effective January 01, 2013. National, State, Municipal Governments and all private employers incorporated or doing businesses in the FSM are subject to social security tax. Effective January 01, 2018, the quarterly taxable wage will be increased to $8000. It is estimated that an additional tax collection of $143,850 will be generated from the increased quarterly taxable wage. The FSMSSA provides four basic benefits; retirement, disability, surviving spouse and surviving children’s benefits. The average monthly benefit payment for the ten-month period ending October 31, 2017 was $1,723,763 compared to $1,658,065 for CY 2016 or an average of 4% increase. Furthermore, the challenge remains, where every year benefit payments increase, therefore FSMSSA tries its best to make accommodations that would assist the longevity of the program. FSMSSA continues to assume responsibility for the Prior Service Trust Fund to its citizens even with the continuous funding by the US Congress and Department of Interior, and Insular Affairs. Department of Interior approved the funding request presented by PS Administrator Jerry Facey and Administrator Narruhn in May 2016, on behalf of all beneficiaries, for a cost of living allowance for all recipients of the Prior Service Program. The minimum benefit per month was increased from $27 to $50. In addition, Department of Interior also approved an ongoing annual cost of living adjustment of 3%. Funds received under the PSTF for the ten month ending October 31, 2017 amounted to $312,100 while benefits paid for the same period totaled to $227.793. The program awaits two pending bills in place, therefore if passed, the system shall have a sustainable future. An important matter also discussed was based on the planning and construction of a new office, which by now, the lot is in place. Other dreams came upon as, if the new building comes in place, another 5 year planning will be at hand, which is to accommodate a Credit Union within the new HQ office for our beneficiaries and participants. The Credit Union in a sense will benefit both the program and its people. At the offset, the highlights of FSMSSA financial report and Tax report were shared and discussed.