The CNMI government has already released $3.5 million intended for retirees or their beneficiaries—part of the more than $40 million revenue allocated under Public Law 19-75 or the supplemental budget. Gov. Ralph DLG Torres signed it into law last week.
PL 19-75, introduced as House Bill 19-212 by Rep. Antonio Sablan (Ind-Saipan), appropriates $40,967,307.88 for several government agencies and programs.
The Department of Finance had already transferred the money to the Settlement Fund, which would then be equally distributed to more than 3,000 former public servants or their beneficiaries no later than Thursday, Dec. 29, due to different criteria and the coming holidays.
The amount distributed is the gross amount; recipients will be responsible for paying the tax on their bonuses on April 15, 2017.
Torres said the government continues to prioritize providing quality public service to the community, especially retired civil servants. “Our government believes in making sure its former public servants are taken cared of, for their years of hard work and dedication to the community.”
“We are committed to ensuring that a fiscally responsible funding mechanism is put in place so that our retirees and their beneficiaries can continue to receive their hard-earned pensions. We understand that there is so much more we can do as our economy continues to grow.”
The money was part of the government’s revenue collected from fees paid by the lone casino licensee on Saipan.
“Because of our revitalized economy, I am pleased that we are able to provide $3,500,000 as a bonus to our retirees and their beneficiaries this year,” Torres added.
He said it has been the government’s goal to help improve the lives of everyone who call the CNMI their home. “It is my hope we continue this work of progress together as we press forward in the coming year to create a more efficient government.”
Finance Secretary Larrisa Larson said that one of the parameters they used is that a surviving spouse without qualified children would receive an equal share of the bonus like the retiree.
“A surviving spouse with minor children and/or children over 18 and under 22 years of age who are full-time students at an accredited educational institution will also equally share the bonus based on what is determined to be a retiree’s share,” Larson said.
Surviving minor child or children over 18 years old who are full-time students in an accredited educational institution and under the supervision of a legal guardian would also equally share the bonus based on the retirees’ share.
NMI Settlement Fund administrator Lillian Pangelinan said that retirees will receive $1,230.66 each—the same amount of all survivors, either spouse or children, of a deceased retiree. “For example, if you are a surviving spouse with two minor children, the three of you will receive $410.22 each.”