The Federated States of Micronesia Social Security Administration announces that approximately $1 million will soon be released for Prior Service benefit payments.
The Prior Service statement issued through the FSMSSA, is as follows: The Prior Service Program Chairman (Mr. Jack Yakana), Lt. Governor of Pohnpei, the Administrator (Mr. Jerry Facey) and the fund advisor (Mr. Frank X. Solomon) recently concluded an agreement with the Department of Interior which will allow the release of approximately $1 million for Prior Service benefit payments.
This agreement, which was requested by the U.S. Congress in their 2005 committee report, will provide for the transfer of the administrative functions and responsibilities of the Prior Service Program from the central office in Saipan to each of the four Governments. This project is scheduled to be completed by March 2006. In addition to the $1 million being released under the agreement, it is expected that the program will receive another $800,000 in fiscal Year 2006.
In another series of meetings, the Ambassador Kyota from the Republic of Palau and Ambassador Marehalau from the Federated States of Micronesia joined the aforementioned group in a meeting with Lynn Scarlett, Assistant Secretary, Policy, Budget and Management and David Cohen, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Insular Affairs. This meeting was the first step in following up on a recent joint letter from the three FAS Presidents to the Secretary of Interior and a letter from the Governor of the CNMI requesting her assistance in funding the program.
The group made a short presentation on the status of program, its funding needs for the future and promised to provide additional information for Interior's review. While there were no definite promises made by the Assistant Secretary, the general impression of the group was that it was a very positive meeting and they looked forward to several future meetings to discuss the program and funding request in more detail.
The Chairman and his group also visited with several US Congressional staff to provide them with a status report on the transition project and to discuss future year funding.
In general, the meetings were very positive and the fund will have enough money to continue making payments for the immediate future. The Chairman and the rest of the Board with the support of the administrator and advisor will, however, continue their efforts to identify a long term funding solution.