Thousands of seniors are not entitled to a pension. The Ombudsman wants to change the conditions

After years of work, everyone should be given the conditions for a dignified life. However, almost five thousand seniors annually hear from the authorities that they are not entitled to a pension. People in our country have to work 35 years to earn retirement money. Otherwise they are not entitled to them. This is unparalleled elsewhere in Europe. The European average is around fifteen years of service. According to the Public Defender of Rights Stanislav Křeček, this condition is very strict, the number of rejected applications will gradually increase and something needs to be done about the situation immediately.

In 2010, from the original 25 years of service, the limit gradually increased to the current 35. At the same time, the so-called replacement insurance periods ceased to be counted or began to be shortened. “This means that years of study do not include studies after 2009, postponed entry into employment after graduation, various types of interruption of employment, work in countries with which our republic does not have social security agreements, or longer periods in the register of applicants for employment of disabled people in the first or second degree, “said Ombudsman Stanislav Křeček.

“The average calculated period of pension insurance is now about 43 for women and 45 for men,” said Pavel Matějíček, a lawyer at the ombudsman’s office and a member of the Commission for Fair Pensions. However, people of retirement age who are not entitled to a pension due to years of life not worked have to catch up differently. “Seniors can go to work or pay extra for the remaining years,” Matějíček said. However, some seniors do not have these options, either due to health problems or a lack of funds. “These people are then dependent on help in material need and must wait five years before they will be entitled to a late old-age pension,” Matějíček added. The situation could thus lead to an increase in poverty among the elderly “Benefits in material need only serve for basic survival. It is definitely not a dignified security in old age, “said Matějíček.

According to the Ombudsman, this is a big problem for the future. “It simply came to our notice then. In my opinion, this is such an urgent situation that it should be addressed regardless of whether there will be a pension reform or not. Otherwise, a serious social problem will arise, “said the ombudsman. According to him, the peak of this crisis should occur in 2040. “I estimate that the situation could affect all people who have been born since 1975 or since 1980 and above,” Matějíček said. The problems with years worked thus concern the younger and middle generations. “A gap may arise, for example, for people who took advantage of the situation in the 1990s and traveled, or for mothers in the household,” said Jiří Hrubý, head of the social security department at the ombudsman’s office.

Křeček has already called on the Commission for Fair Pensions, which makes recommendations to the Government of the Czech Republic, especially the Minister of Labor and Social Affairs Jana Maláčová (ČSSD), to change the situation. “I want politicians to deal with it. It must be seen as a problem, “said the ombudsman. The Minister of Labor and Social Affairs has previously said that about five percent of seniors will now not receive a retirement pension due to insufficient insurance. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) advises the Czech Republic to reduce the mandatory payment time in a preliminary report on the analysis of the pension system. After receiving these results, the pension commission discussed the possibility of shortening at the beginning of July. The Commission has proposed four options for a possible solution. It calls on the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs to develop all options. In all variants, it is mainly a matter of lowering the threshold from which a person is entitled to a pension.

The head of the pension commission, Danuše Nerudová, said that people could receive a pension from the public system after shorter hours of work and payment of contributions than 35 years. But the pension would also be reduced accordingly. The setting variants are now calculated. “We have discussed this topic several times in the commission, we have agreed that it is a serious topic and will have to be reopened at the next commission meeting as soon as possible in terms of the coronavirus situation,” said Nerudová.

According to the Ombudsman, this situation has a clear cause. “It is a consequence of the constantly postponed pension reform,” he said. According to Matějíček, a member of the Commission for Fair Pensions, the situation should be resolved not only by reducing the condition of entitlement to a pension. “Studying should also include studies and there should be a possibility to lower the late retirement age,” he added.

The main reason for rejected applications is mainly ignorance or misinformation of applicants. However, every citizen of the Czech Republic is entitled to find out once a year from the Czech Social Security Administration about his / her status of entitlement to a pension. “Not only people approaching retirement age should be interested in this, but also the younger ones,” Křeček remarked. Precisely because of the low level of public awareness of the conditions of entitlement to a pension, the Ombudsman will create a series of podcasts called For Coffee with the Ombudsman, in which he will talk about the most important topics in this area. By the end of October, anyone can send him suggestions on which topics he should deal with in podcasts. The series wants to start in early December this year.

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