Low-income pensioners will receive an additional sum of €20 to €50 in their monthly allowance, depending on the size of their yearly income, the council of ministers agreed on Wednesday.
According to the labour minister Zeta Emilianidou, who tabled the proposal, around 38,000 low-income pensioners will benefit from the increase, which will be received by the beneficiaries in the form of a ‘small cheque’.
The yearly budget for the increase amounts to €19.6 million.
“The aim is to help low-income pensioners by establishing an allowance which will keep all these thousands of people…above the poverty level,” Emilianidou said.
In cases where a couple are both low-income pensioners, both will receive their monthly allowance and a small cheque each.
The council of ministers decided that the additional sum to be received will depend on yearly income, Emilianidou said.
Pensioners with yearly income of up to €7,227 will receive an additional monthly cheque of €50; pensioners bringing in between €7,228 and €9,291 will receive an additional €40; and those with income between €9,292 up to €10,324 an additional €20.
Emilianidou added that the council of ministers also agreed to keep the poverty level indicators at the same levels, so that more low-income pensioners could enjoy the approved increase in their allowance.
The poverty level therefore remained at €8,698 in annual income for one person, and €13,047 for two persons, while those who receive 20 per cent over the poverty level (up to €10,324 for one person and €15.486 for two) are also entitled to a low-income pension allowance.
“This means that over 6,000 low-income pensioners can continue to be beneficiaries of this allowance increase,” Emilianidou said.
Since 2014, she added, important decisions were taken in favour of low-income pensioners, as the latest pension increase approved on Wednesday was the second to be implemented, while since 2017 low-income pensioners are beneficiaries of a Christmas gift of a minimum of €100.
Low-income pensioners also receive a healthcare allowance, and are exempted from hospital A&E and public transport fees.