The social security in Samoa is regulated by a law of 1972, which provides for a provident fund program and a universal old-age pension system (the senior citizen benefit scheme).
The provident fund program covers employed persons, including household workers. Voluntary coverage is available for self-employed persons. The senior citizen benefit scheme covers citizens and permanent residents aged 65 of older residing in Samoa.
In case of the provident fund, funds are contributed by both the insured person and the employer in the following proportions: (i) Insured person: At least 5% of gross monthly earnings. Additional voluntary contributions are permitted without limit; (ii) Employer: At least 5% of gross monthly payroll. Self-employed persons can make voluntary contributions.
The senior citizen benefit scheme is financed entirely by the Government.
The old-age pension is available at age 55 if the person retires from its covered employment. If covered employment continues after age 55, the fund member must continue to make contributions to the fund. If new employment begins after funds are withdrawn at age 55, the fund member must contribute for 12 months before withdrawing funds again. Further, the fund are available at any age if emigrating permanently or after 12 consecutive months of residence overseas.
A fund member can choose from three benefit options: (i) a monthly pension based on total insured person and employer contributions plus interest; (ii) a monthly pension based on 75% of total insured person and employer contributions, plus interest, with the remaining 25% paid as a lump sum; or (iii) a lump sum of the full amount in their account taken at age 55. The pension amount is adjusted every 3 years according to an actuarial review.
Early withdrawal is possible at age 50 if the person has been unemployed for 5 or more years. Drawdown payments are possible if the person has a minimum balance of 500 tala (approximately USD 215). In such, case, the insured person may draw down up to 50% of the total contributions. The payment is repaid as a loan at an annual interest rate of 9.5%.
Senior citizen benefit scheme is available at age 65. The benefit is of 130 tala (approximately USD 55) a month. Senior citizens also receive free health care in public hospitals and free interisland travel on public seagoing vessels. The senior citizen benefit is reviewed periodically by the government.
The system is administered by the Samoa National Provident Fund (http://www.npf.ws), managed by a tripartite board, that administers the scheme, and the Senior Citizen Benefit Scheme Department of the Samoa National Provident Fund, which administers the senior citizen benefit scheme.
Source:Social Security Programs Throughout the World: Asia and the Pacific, 2010, available at http://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/progdesc/ssptw/2010-2011/asia/index.html