More ‘elderly-friendly’ Social Security Fund proposed

Thursday, June 3, 2010
Issue 1028, Page 4
Word count: 645
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

The Legislative Assembly’s Third Standing Committee has proposed to the government to lift the requirement that bans elderly residents who did not live in Macau for 183 days in each of the past 30 years from joining the Social Security Fund (FSS).

In the government-drafted bill to revise the social security system, people who are not qualified to receive an age pension at the age of 65 because they haven’t contributed enough to FSS could request to remedy the situation by making a one-off contribution of the missing amount.

President of the Third Standing Committee Cheang Chi Keong said this kind of “remedial contributions” is for two types of residents – those who did not complete a full contribution consisting of 60 installments before 65 years old, and those who had never contributed to FSS before the age of 65, such as housewives or employers.

According to the existing rules, only after a resident has contributed to FSS in 60 full installments can he or she become eligible to receive an age pension when reaching 65 years old.

Cheang Chi Keong said if a resident has so far only made 20 installment payments at 65, he or she is able to apply for settling the amount of the remaining 40 installments in order to benefit from the age pensions.

Permanent residents who were never a FSS contributor can also apply to “remedy” the situation when they reach 65 years old.

Yet, these people can make a one-off contribution equivalent to 15 years in maximum and afterwards are only entitled to half of an age pension amount.

In order to be allowed to make a “remedial contribution”, applicants must be a Macau permanent resident, at 35 years old or above and have also lived in Macau for at least 183 days in each of the past 30 years, the bill suggests.

Cheang Chi Keong said the standing committee disagreed with the 183-day requirement, since “it’s hard to trace the record of the past three decades and some elderly residents who aren’t part of FSS is a problem left over from history”.

Hence, he said the standing committee suggested the government to remove such requirement in the bill.

The government representatives gave a “positive response” in the meeting, Cheang said, but added that they still needed to discuss the proposal with the senior officials before they can reply to the standing committee officially.

On the other hand, Cheang Chi Keong said the committee has made another suggestion hoping to help elderly citizens who are unable to settle the contribution equivalent to 15 years amounting to MOP8,100.

It is proposed that they can pay the amount in 12 installments in a year, making it MOP675 per month. And they can also start receiving age pensions after making the first installment payment.

However, Cheang stressed that this mechanism cannot be misused and is only for the elderly who are with financial difficulties.

There are still 12 articles in the bill waiting to be discussed within the standing committee. Cheang said it is hoped that they can close the first-phase deliberation in two more meetings.

President of the Legislative Assembly Lau Cheok Va requested the committee to hand in the opinion report on June 7. But now it has to be pushed back for two months, Cheang said.

FSS to mail more notifications

Meanwhile, president of the administrative committee of FSS, Fung Ping Kuen, told reporters after yesterday’s meeting that to date around 4,000 statements of objection were received from residents who were not included on the provisional list of the central saving system.

Fung said FSS will mail notification letters within this month to the residents whose objections have been accepted.

He also said the residents can check the related details at the FSS website as it will be updated at once before the notifications are being mailed out.

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