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MPs call for changes to minimum pension amount

File Photo: pensioners out demonstrating (Christos Theodorides)

Legislators on Tuesday again called on the government to agree to proposed changes that would raise the minimum pension amount, noting that several pensioners currently live under the poverty line.

House labour committee chair Andreas Fakondis said the problem with the low pensions has been exacerbated following the imposition of a 12 per cent ‘penalty’ on those retiring at the age of 63.

Due to that reduction, he noted, those receiving the minimum pension get less than those on old-age pension (social security).

In other words, those who have contributed to social security for more than 15 years and are eligible for the minimum pension receive less money than those on an old-age pension.

Main opposition Akel is asking the labour ministry to consider scrapping the 12 per cent penalty, initially at least for those who had worked in physically intensive or hazardous occupations and had contributed to social security for over 30 years.

The committee resolved to summon the minister of labour after the summer recess to revisit the matter.

The labour ministry is currently conducting an actuarial study on the viability of the Social Insurance Fund more broadly.

In remarks to the press, Edek MP Elias Myrianthous said it makes no sense that in a country that is a member of the EU and likes to call itself civilised people are getting pensions of €350.

Opposition legislators also want to relax the rules on disability pension. Currently, individuals deemed unfit to work but, because they suffer from a long-term illness and have not paid into social security over the past two years, are ineligible for disability pension.

A legislative proposal intends to ameliorate this situation, where only if such pensioners haven’t paid into social security for the past four years, rather than two, would they be deemed ineligible for disability pension.

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