More than 1.2 million pensioners are struggling to make ends meet on pensions of less than 500 euros a month, according to the Labor and Social Security Ministry’s Helios database. The fact that the government has put the database back into operation only serves to highlight the social security system’s problems.
Helios’s resumption was among the prior actions required of the government by the country’s creditors, and this happened just a matter of hours before the crucial Eurogroup meeting in Brussels. The information published concerns the figures as they stood at the end of 2016, while further cuts have been imposed since then.
Helios revealed that more than one in six pensioners (17.2 percent) is below the age of 62, and it highlights a generation of younger pensioners, aged between 56 and 65 and who worked at state corporations, who receive pensions much higher than the average amount of 722 euros per month: They range between 1,000 and 1,137 euros.
In December 2016 there were 2,631,052 pensioners and total monthly spending on them amounted to 2.3 billion euros. Of those pensioners, 452,726 were below the age of 62. One in four (24 percent) was over 81 years old and 31 percent between 71 and 80.
The consequences of the 2016 law – dubbed the Katrougalos law after Giorgos Katrougalos, the former minister who introduced it – are evident in the data for supplementary pensions and dividends: From July 2015 to December 2015 there was an average 10.5 percent cut in supplementary pensions, while dividends have on average been slashed by 28 percent.
Meanwhile the Single Social Security Entity (EFKA) will be issuing pensions with an asterisk for applications submitted after May 13, 2016, even though it has already been more than a year since the law changing the calculation method was passed.
EFKA on Monday issued a circular regarding the calculation of the new retirement application that will lead to pensions falling to levels up to 30 percent lower than the old level. This is expected to pave the way for the issue of the approximately 60,000 pensions that are already pending, although it does not resolve all unresolved issues.