IKA to pay for 13-year delay

A widowed mother of six, who was forced to beg on the streets of her native Aegean island after being denied a state pension for 16 years after her husband’s death, has been awarded over 58,000 euros in compensation by Greece’s highest administrative court. Under a Council of State decision made public yesterday, the Social Security Foundation (IKA) must pay Kalymnos resident Irini Hartofylaka 58,694 euros in damages, plus interest, for failing to respond to her application for a widow’s pension for 13 years. The court noted that compensation was in order as Hartofylaka, who was widowed in 1979, was forced to beg alms and undertake «jobs considered demeaning by the standards of Kalymnos society» in order to support her young children. IKA’s Rhodes branch rejected the woman’s first pension bid in 1982, but months later the central offices approved a new application after the Minister for Social Security intervened. However, Rhodes officials only took action in 1995, granting Hartofylaka a pension backdated to 1982.