The ostensible shield of so-called protected bank accounts, which is supposed to prevent the confiscation of certain deposits for debt purposes, is full of holes and does not protect families in need, as it should. Kathimerini has learned that complaints have been made to the Ombudsman regarding a series of state agencies which have raided a number of these supposedly protected accounts.
In one case, a freelance workers’ fund (OAEE) pensioner was ordered to return a benefit he had received in the past. The law allows for payments to be made in installments of up to 25 percent of his pension – meaning that if his pension is too low for the remaining 75 percent to cover his needs, the installment can be below 25 percent. However, OAEE has ordered banks to withhold the full 25 percent in all such cases, regardless of any problems this would create for pensioners.
The Ombudsman has also received complaints about the confiscation of benefits for children with disabilities, as although the money is paid into protected accounts, there have been instances where it was taken away due to debts owed by the children’s parents.
The Ombudsman is now proposing that such benefits be protected if they are granted to people in financial distress whose survival depends on them.