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The Greeks wait four years for a pension

10 March 2014 / 14:03:24  GRReporter
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The people entitled to retirement in Greece are waiting between one and four years to receive their pensions from the local insurance funds. According to a report in the Greek daily Ethnos, 375,000 applications for pensions and lump sum retirement benefits have spent several years in the drawers at the funds, without being processed. In practice, the Greek government has informally stopped this kind of payments.

This fact has provoked reactions on the part of the representatives of the lenders, mostly in relation to the allocation of 2013 budget surplus. The Troika members doubt the stability of the Greek social security system, accounting for the data on the delays in the approval of the applications for retirement. They recommend that the government should not spend the budget surplus in the form of pre-election benefits for various social and professional categories, but keep it in reserve to cover the future requirements of pension funds.

At present, pension funds have not approved nearly 190,000 basic and 130,000 auxiliary pensions. In addition, over 55,000 people have been waiting for over two years to receive a lump sum retirement benefit.

According to experts in the field of social security, Greece will have to pay 3 billion euro for the immediate payment of these payable pensions. However, this amount is two times higher than the budget surplus of 1.5 billion euro.

The number of unprocessed applications for retirement at the largest pension fund IKA is 95,000. According to the trade union of employees, PSOE-IKA, the waiting period for those insured persons whose contributions for their full length of service have been paid to the particular fund, is between 13 and 14 months on average. In the cases in which the contributions of the insured persons have been paid to other insurance funds, the waiting period is up to two years.

ETAEAM is the auxiliary pension fund to IKA. The number of applications there is 75,000 and their approval takes between two and three years.

The number of pensions delayed by the insurance fund of freelancers is 20,000 and the average time for the processing of applications is one year. The "rule" that the waiting period is extended to 20 months if the insured person has paid contributions to another fund applies to this fund too.

The number of civil servants who have applied for retirement but have not yet received their pensions is between 25,000 and 30,000. For them the time to the desired final decision on granting a pension ranges from 12 to 24 months as well. The waiting period at the insurance fund of farmers, OGA, is about one year.

The situation with other insurance funds is similar. Meanwhile, head of the federation of employees in insurance funds POPOKP Athanasios Kapotas warns that the reduction of their staff "is worsening the situation and in the coming months there will be a further extension of the waiting period" before the future retirees obtain the cherished decision.

The Ministry of Labour and Social Security argues that the electronic register of the insurance profile of all insured persons in Greece will tackle the delays. For this purpose, it is necessary to digitize 90 million handwritten lists that are at various insurance funds today. According to sources from the Ministry, after this procedure is completed, the insured persons will be able to check their length of service and to be informed as to when they are entitled to apply for retirement.

Although the task seems difficult, the Ministry believes that the making of an electronic database of people who have entered the job market since 1 January 1994 will be ready this October. Initially, the measure will include the persons insured at IKA, the funds of freelancers OAEE and ETAA, the fund of marine workers NAT and the fund of farmers. It is expected that the full electronic list of the insurance record of all persons in Greece insured from the middle of the 1970 to today will be ready next year.

Tags: SocietyPensionsPensions fundsServiceIKAGreece
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