The NMI Retirement Fund has so far approved 101 applications of members who want to withdraw their contributions from the pension program, a small fraction of the 1,713 refund applications it received.
The agency began receiving refund applications on Sept. 17 following the enactment of Public Law 17-82, which allowed members to withdraw the full amount of their contributions without separating from the government.
This new law mandates the Fund to pay out 25 percent of a member's contributions plus interest within 30 days after a member submits an application. The remaining 75 percent will be paid out within 90 days.
It also allows employees to roll over their defined benefit plan contributions into the defined contribution plan and become a member of that program.
Based on the Retirement Fund website, 101 applications for withdrawal have been marked “approved” by the Fund administrator as of Oct. 11. However, no check has been disbursed yet.
In a 35-page document posted on the agency's website, a total of 1,713 refund applications were marked “filed” since Sept. 17. A total of 39 applications were marked either “void” or “cancelled.” Fund officials earlier said there is no deadline to file refund applications.
Saipan Tribune tried to obtain information from Fund acting administrator Lillian Pangelinan on the target check disbursement but failed. Email inquiries and calls were not returned as of press time.
Some members who have been waiting for the release of their money are worried about a potential delay in the disbursement of checks. Last Oct. 17 was the 30th day after the filing of the first applications.
“Although they assured us that there is money set aside for [withdrawals], we're still worried [about] the possibility that we will not receive our monies as we expect them. It's been a month now and only more than a hundred [applications] have been reviewed and approved,” complained a Fund member who was among the first group of people who filed refund applications on the first day.
Fund officials and representatives earlier said that payment for the refunds will come from the $113 million that the court set aside for active members of the Fund.