The Palau Social Security Administration is seeking a waiver from the reimbursement of the Social Security and National Health Insurance contributions which were deducted from PUA and PFUC recipients’ benefits and paid to the Social Security Administration last year.
In a letter to Chairman of WIOA Board Matthew Rudimch, SS Administrator Ulai Teltull requested that WIOA appeal to U.S. Department of Labor (DOL)’s interpretation of the Palau Social Security Act regarding the purpose of the grant which is “to mitigate the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic by paying PUA benefits to covered individuals.”
“The contributions to Palau Social Security and the Palau Healthcare Fund were made on behalf of 495 recipients for their continued benefits under the national health insurance (NHI), individual medical savings account (MSA), and for their future earning quarters for retirement (SS Retirement),” the letter states.
SS Administrator Teltull further reported that the benefits paid to NHI and MSA ensured that people who have lost their employment continued to have medical insurance coverage during the pandemic.
“As of date, most of the beneficiaries had benefited from the insurance coverage for their hospital admission at Belau National Hospital (80% coverage) and some that were referred to Taiwan for full coverage of $35,000 under NHI,” she said.
The contributions to individual medical savings (MSA) had been credited to each person’s account, allowing them access to medical service at private clinics as well as medicines.
The payments of individuals’ Social Security benefits by WIOA contributed to the number of earned quarters toward recipients’ eligibility for retirement. It has also contributed to higher benefit payments for some of the beneficiaries over 60 based on higher WIOA benefit.
The Social Security Administrator in the letter said that it would be very challenging to recall or refund the money that has been paid and used by the beneficiary.
Since August of last year, when WIOA stopped paying SS/NHI/MSA benefits, the number of people now uninsured has risen to 10% from 3% of the population.
“This means that some beneficiaries under WIOA had their insurance coverage lapse,” she said. “This is an individual choice but with the risk of COVID-19 and all other health issues related to lifestyle changes under the current situation, the need to ensure that beneficiaries maintain their insurance and retirement benefits does mitigate the economic effects of our people and nation.”
WIOA paid $753,027.66 to Social Security Administration last year July covering Social Security benefits, NHI and MSA premiums of 495 people.

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