ECONOMY

Pensions make digital leap

pensions-make-digital-leap

The Labor Ministry on Thursday took the first step in issuing pensions electronically, launching the so-called Atlas system in the presence of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

The ambitious new plan aspires for the Atlas online system to be in full operation by the end of 2021 so that 80%-85% of pension applications can be approved without the hassle and delays retirees are currently subjected to.

The big challenge for the ministry is paring down the huge pile of long-pending applications, which according to the latest figures come to more than 260,000. These are applications for main and auxiliary pensions, as well as for lump sums that have been stagnant for up to four years.

The project inaugurated on Thsurday will initially deal with the fully automated issuance of pensions for two categories: Farmers insured with the former OGA pension fund without any insurance in another fund, and those eligible for a bereavement benefits.

These are two relatively easy categories, yet the previous application process could take as much as two years due to the simple fact that those eligible for the benefits had to attach a total of nine documents to their applications. From now on, they will not have to poduce any.

According to the ministry’s timetable, by the end of 2020 the pilot operation of the platform will allow for the issuance of pensions for health workers of the former TSAY fund, followed in April 2021 by pensions for salaried workers who used to be insured at the former IKA fund, as well a civil servants and engineers insured at the former TSMEDE fund.

“This is the beginning of the end of a lot of hassle for pensioners and good, practical proof that technology can make our lives easier,” said Mitsotakis as he inaugurated Atlas.

The prime minister further spoke of the initiative as being just the start of a broader plan, while acknowledging the problems in the long delays in pension issuance. “We had to start somewhere,” he said.