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250,000 Pension Applications are Frozen in Greece

assets_LARGE_t_420_54250881The list of retired employees who have applied for pension is getting bigger each day reaching 250,000 applications, while the waiting period may reach up to five years for supplementary pensions.
Applications are frozen because pension legislation is pending, while creditors insist on pension cuts in supplementary pensions.
At the moment, applications for main pensions, supplementary pensions and the lump sum public sector employees receive upon retirement are delaying, mainly because of the large number of employees who retired in the past three years.
The longest delays are for supplementary pensions, mainly because of the complexity of legislation, since there are 17 different supplementary pension funds unified as ETEA, and lack of money.
There are 120,000 pending applications for supplementary pensions, according to a Single Supplementary Insurance Fund (ETEA) official. At the moment, ETEA is issuing supplementary pensions to those who have applied up until the end of 2013. Also, there are applications pending from 2011 for supplementary pensions of retired employees in the retail sector, who had their own security fund.
The accumulated sums of back pensions would be prohibitive at the moment, thus making the issuing of supplementary pensions next to impossible at the moment. At the rate supplementary pensions are issued, those who apply now will have to wait up to five years in order to receive them.
Also, another 50,000 retired public sector employees wait to receive the lump sum they are entitled to. The number applies to employees who have retired after September 1st, 2013.
However, the lump sums must be first calculated and approved by the labor ministry. Since there are no funds available to pay those sums, the wait will be up to four years.
Finally, there are 80,000 applications pending for main social security pensions. Those pensioners will have to wait up to 17 months to receive the pension, while those who are entitled to supplementary pensions will have to wait up to 24 months.
At the same time, European Commission statistical figures show that Greece spends more in pensions than other European Union members. Greece paid 16.3 percent of gross domestic product on pensions, and from now until 2030 it will not be less than 14 percent, while the EU average is 12 percent.
Thereby, EU creditors are asking the Greek government to reduce pension spending by increasing retirement age to 67 and putting a halt to many early retirements.

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