BUSINESS

Pensions not enough to cover costs of medicines, bills and food

ROULA SALOUROU

TAGS: Economy

Three in every four pensioners already find themselves financially crippled, while upcoming cuts to pensions combined with bailout interventions in their allowances are expected to lead to a total reduction of pensioners’ incomes by up to 70 percent.

This is the conclusion of a survey conducted by the United Pensioners network, which paints a picture of pensioners today as poor, demoralized and disappointed. It adds that the pension most retirees receives doesn’t even cover the costs of spending on medications, bills and food.

The head of the network, Nikos Hatzopoulos, notes that “the reductions that pensioners’ incomes have suffered are huge. It’s not just the cuts, it’s also the [social security] contribution hikes, tax hikes and all the levies that have impoverished the veterans of the work force. Pensions corresponding to revenues withheld from a lifetime’s work have been turned into a mere gratuity through the bailout agreement regulations.”

The network’s data are quite staggering: Some 1.5 million pensioners with annual incomes up to 4,500 euros have sunk into poverty while new cuts to current pension will in 2019 have led to a total loss of income of 70 percent since Greece entered the bailout mechanism in 2010.

New main pensions will not exceed 655 euros per month for average-paid workers. At the same time supplementary pensions have been savaged, as the seven rounds of cuts inflicted on them average at 50 percent in total. There are pensioners whose original supplementary pensions came to 585.20 euros per month and today amount to just 138.80 euros. This signifies a reduction of 78 percent.

Of the total figure of 2.89 million pensioners, 2.15 million (or 74 percent) have to make ends meet on monthly pensions that do not exceed 1,000 euros.

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