CNMI RETIREMENT FUND CLOSES DOORS

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Members advised checks won’t be coming

By Emmanuel T. Erediano SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, Oct. 1, 2010) - Due to the government shutdown, the retirees may not get their pension checks on time.

The Retirement Fund issued an "important" notice yesterday, informing individuals receiving benefits that the Fund will shut down starting today until a balanced fiscal year 2011 budget bill is passed.

The Fund said its management and staff have been working diligently to process the Oct. 15 pay date.

The board and the management also asked Gov. Benigno R. Fitial to allow the Fund to continue providing essential services to its members.

However, the Fund’s request to be exempted from shutdown had not been granted.

The Fund said it cannot guarantee that there will be no delay in sending benefits checks either manually or through bank accounts on Oct. 15.

"Please be prepared for the possibility that you may not receive your pension checks on Oct. 15," according to the Fund notice distributed yesterday.

The Fund said it will do all that is necessary and within the confines of the law to ensure that the benefits are timely paid.

But it also apologized for the inconvenience the shutdown might cause its beneficiaries.

According to the Fund, a prolonged period of shutdown may also affect the ability of the CNMI government to maintain its health and life insurance program coverage for retirees and active government employees.

"Please encourage your representatives and senators to pass a balanced budget. Please also encourage the governor to allow the Fund and required staff to prepare your retirement/survivor/disability annuity payments in a timely manner. Fund management is working diligently on both of these tasks to try to provide your payments in a timely manner," the Fund stated.

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