More pensioners near poverty line


TAGS: Economy

The pension cuts to date have left some 1.2 million pensioners struggling to make ends meet. According to data compiled by the Network for Pensioners, three out of five retirees receive monthly pensions below 700 euros, with 44.8 percent of them getting less than 665 euros.

The network’s data come in the wake of recent remarks by the scientific associates of the unions, according to which 13.7 percent of eight pensioners live in poverty.

The network’s representatives estimate that, due to the 13 special or other cuts or additional contributions imposed by all governments in recent years, pensions have declined by between 20 percent and more than 50 percent.

Despite the 13 consecutive cuts that pensions have been subjected to, recent data show that the social security funds are crumbling under the weight of their deficits, which this year are expected to add up to near on 4 billion euros.

Despite the termination of its Helios data system in the summer of 2015, the Labor Ministry says that the average main pension is around 664 euros and the average auxiliary pension 168 euros per month before tax deductions. Nine out of 10 auxiliary pensions are less than 197 euros.

Network president Nikos Hatzopoulos argues that pensioners remain the target of state streamlining policies. “This government, just like previous ones, is impoverishing us. Unfortunately there is more to come, with the automatic system to curtail public spending,” he says, adding that due to the cuts every year a growing number of pensioners are sliding closer to the poverty line.

The pensioners’ representatives estimate that unless there is an economic rebound and an inflow of fresh resources into the social security system, it is certain that pensioners’ living standards will decline further. Already 1.2 million retirees collect monthly pensions that do not exceed 665 euros, which according to the Hellenic Statistical Authority constitutes the poverty line, while 52 percent of households live on the pensions of their older members.