Pen­sion bomb threat­ens to blow

So­cial se­cu­rity funds’ pend­ing pay­ments, re­lated costs put sta­bil­ity, if not ex­is­tence, of sys­tem at risk

Kathimerini English - - Focus - BY ROULA SALOUROU

A hid­den deficit of 8 bil­lion eu­ros is threat­en­ing to tor­pedo the gov­ern­ment’s fis­cal plan­ning and bring down the coun­try’s so­cial se­cu­rity funds.

More than 300,000 ap­pli­ca­tions for pen­sions are pend­ing, rep­re­sent­ing to­tal ex­pen­di­ture of 4 bil­lion eu­ros. The wait­ing time ranges be­tween 12 and 24 months, while in cer­tain cases it comes to three or four years.

Another prob­lem for the La­bor Min­istry is the gov­ern­ment’s obli­ga­tion to de­ter­mine and leg­is­late a num­ber of mea­sures that would off­set the im­pact of the Coun­cil of State’s de­ci­sions against pen­sion cuts since 2012, es­ti­mated at 2 bil­lion eu­ros at least. In fact, so­cial se­cu­rity ex­perts ar­gue that the cost of im­ple­ment­ing the court ver­dicts may rise to 4.2 bil­lion.

On top of this hid­den debt, which is not of­fi­cially recorded, one should add the debts of the pen­sion funds to the EOPYY healthcare or­ga­ni­za­tion, amount­ing to 1.7 bil­lion eu­ros, as well as con­tri­bu­tions to the for­mer La­bor Hous­ing or­ga­ni­za­tions (to­tal­ing 327.2 mil­lion eu­ros), which are still paid by work­ers but are not for­warded to the or­ga­ni­za­tions by the so­cial se­cu­rity funds.

The data that pen­sion fund em­ploy­ees pre­sented yesterday at their 31st an­nual con­fer­ence are par­tic­u­larly timely, com­ing just a few days be­fore the pre­sen­ta­tion of the gov­ern­ment plan on the so­cial se­cu­rity sys­tem’s new struc­ture. This will have to ab­sorb all of the above deficits.

The pen­sion fund work­ers’ union es­ti­mates that out­stand­ing ap­pli­ca­tions for pen­sions amount to 327,000, with 43,500 of the ap-

1.1254 pli­cants hav­ing just re­ceived tem­po­rary pen­sions. Al­most half of the pend­ing ap­pli­ca­tions con­cern the So­cial Se­cu­rity Foun­da­tion (IKA), num­ber­ing 141,644 ap­proved pen­sions that are yet to start be­ing paid.

The fund of the self-em­ployed (OAEE) has a back­log of 33,000 ap­pli­ca­tions, with 9,500 tem­po­rary pen­sions is­sued, while the farm­ers’ fund (OGA) has 30,000 out­stand­ing ap­pli­ca­tions.

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