Job Opening: Assistant Branch Manager, Chuuk Branch Office
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Disability is the inability to engage in any substantial gainful employment by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.
The Act provides that "every individual who is fully insured and is disabled and has been disabled for at least three full calendar months, upon filing an application for disability insurance benefits, shall be entitled to a disability insurance benefit for each month beginning with the first month of the waiting period and ending with the month preceding the month in which he dies or recovers from his disability…" 53 FSMC 803(3).
1. In order to be eligible for disability benefits, a person must be:
fully insured with at least $1,500 in contributions to the FSMSSA. A person can pay of the difference in a one-time payment if his or her contributions are less than $1,500 to become eligible. Fully insured means that a person's cumulative quarters of coverage is at least as great as the number of years calculated from the later of the date the worker turned age twenty one (21) or June 30, 1968, to the date the worker attains age sixty (60), becomes disabled or dies. Partial years shall be counted as whole years. For example, 37.25 years would be rounded up to 38 years. In any case, a person cannot be fully insured if he or she has less than 12 quarters.
How should the FSMSSA handle the problem of retirees or claimants who take jobs abroad?
First, when a retiree goes back to work, an earning test is applied which frequently reduces the amount of the monthly pension payment. When retirees take jobs abroad, e.g. in Guam, Saipan, Hawaii or the mainland, a question arises as to whether the earning test should be applied even if the retirees are no longer paying into the FSMSSA system.
Title 53 F.S.M.C. 603(6) states that an earning test to reduce the pension amount is to be applied to any retiree who goes to work in "covered or non-covered employment." The SS Administration's legal interpretation is that any and all employment should be considered, whether it is earned within the FSM or abroad.
As provided under section 203 of the FSM Public Law 2-74 (Social Security Act), any claimant whose application for benefits is denied by the Administration or the Administration takes action to reduce or stop previously authorized benefits has the right to appeal the decision to the FSM Board of Trustees.
The SS tax rate is scheduled for a statutory increase effective January 01, 2013 from 7% to 7.5%. Why is the 0.5% increase necessary?
The statutory SS tax rate increase would increase the employee's share of contributions from 7% to 7.5% of taxable wages and would also increase the employer's matching contribution by the same rate, for a total of 2% increase in the combined SS tax rate (15%). This increase is actuarially determined to balance the benefit formula.
To further amend title 53 of the Code of the Federated States of Micronesia, as amended by Public Laws Nos. 5-120, 7-118, 9-056, 12-76,14-34, 14-37, 14-86 and 15-73, by amending the following provisions of Title 53, sections 603, 804 806, 809, 901 and 902, to delay the implementation of the Social Security retirement benefits received by an individual between the ages of 60 and 64 for one year and to delay the implementation of tax increase for one year, to clarify some language, and for other purposes.
To further amend title 53 of the Code of the Federated States of Micronesia, as amended by Public Laws Nos. 5-120, 7-118, 9-056, 12-76, 14-34, 14-37 and 14-86, by amending the following provisions of title 53, sections 603, 605, 607, 801, 803, 803A, 804, 806, 809, 901, 902, and 1006, to provide for greater financial stability for the FSM Social Security Administration and to reduce its un-funded liability, by raising tax rates, to clarify definitions, to change restrictions to the types of investment that Social Security may engage in, and for other purposes.
To further amend Title 53 of the Code of the Federated States of Micronesia, as amended, by amending sections 603, 804 and 809 and to enact a new section 903 thereof, to revise certain definitions, to change benefit levels, to change the time at and circumstances in which expatriate workers may access their contributions, to allow for voluntary participation in the Social Security system, and for other purposes.
Social Security benefits are based upon the worker’s earnings as reported to the social Security Administration. The worker’s earnings are also used to determine insured status for entitlement to retirement, survivors, and disability insurance benefits. Accordingly, it is important that these earnings are reported promptly and accurately.
The Social Security Administration issues an EIN upon receipt and processing of a completed application for an Employer Identification Number. The applicant must submit a copy of business license and evidence of the ownership, inception date of business, form of business and nature of business and others upon applying for an EIN. All employers in the FSM must get an employer identification number and must indicate this number on the employer’s tax return. Applicants with more than one business must have one EIN for each business. The EIN must be entered on the Employer’s Quarterly Tax Return. If you change the name of your business enterprise, you must write or visit the nearest Social Security office so your records can be updated. Changing your business name without informing Social Security might result in your employee’s earnings not being credited to their records, and an employee could lose some rights to benefits.
In the last days of the war, Micronesians started working for the U.S. Military providing essential services to active duty soldiers, sailors and airmen, including care for the wounded and support for the men fighting in places like Iwo Jima and Okinawa. These people were paid very meager salaries, often as low as 9 cents an hour, with no employee benefits.
After the war ended, these men and women continued to work at low wages for the Department of the Navy and later the Department of the Interior, which took over as the administering authority for the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands. By 1966, average wages had increased to just over 70 cents an hour, group life insurance was offered to all Micronesian employees and Workmen’s Compensation Insurance became available. At this time the idea of establishing a Social Security program began to attract serious interest.
In 1986, the United States Congress acknowledged a commitment on behalf of the United States Government to fund the Prior Service Benefit Program. At that time $8 million was appropriated for the initial capitalization of the Fund. As of Jan. 1, 1996, $15.5 million is needed to fund the remaining debt and complete the capitalization process.
P.O. Box L Kolonia, Pohnpei
Phone No.: (691)320-2706
P.O. Box L Kolonia, Pohnpei
Phone No.: (691)320-2709/2181
Fax.: (691) 320-8963
Box 397 Weno, Chuuk
Phone No.: (691)330-2200
Fax.: (691) 330-2647
Box 479 Colonia, Yap
Phone No.: (691)350-2309/8489
P.O. Box 435 Tofol, Kosrae
Phone No.: (691)370-3048