By Stelios Orphanides
The parliament is expected to decide on Friday whether to accept President Nicos Anastasiades’ referral of a law extending widower’s pension who deemed it as unconstitutional, the Cyprus News Agency (CNA) reported on Thursday.
The parliament’s decision to amend a government bill and make widowers eligible to benefit from the scheme immediately after applying regardless of when their wives died, was unconstitutional because it cconstitutesan interference of the parliament in the affairs of the executive power, the report said, citing Anastasiades.
In its initial form, the bill made eligible those men who lost or lose their spouse after January 1, this year.
In his letter to the parliament justifying his decision to refer the law, the President said that as a result of the parliament’s decision, the cost to the Social Insurance Fund, which pays out pensions and unemployment benefits, would increase from a budgeted €3.4m this year to €42.3m, while in 2019, it would increase from €6.5m to €43.7m.
By 2020, the Social Insurance Fund would have to pay €44.9m in widowers’ pensions outlays instead of the earmarked €9.7m, which would further increase in 2021 to €46.6m from €13m respectively.
Ekysy, an Akel-affiliated group representing pensioners, criticised Anastasiades’ decision on the grounds that it allowed an injustice against men to continue creating two categories of widowers.