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.