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National Debt Register. “Giant debt of Polish seniors”

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Michał Szczerba, an MP from the Civic Coalition, warned in a radio interview that “we are observing a gigantic indebtedness of Polish seniors.” According to him, the debt among people over 60 years of age totals over PLN 6 billion. So we checked the data in the National Debt Register. Over the past 11 years, total debt has increased by 436.4 percent.

The conversation with Michał Szczerba, a politician from the Civic Coalition, in the radio “Sygnały Dzień” on January 22 began with the government’s announcements regarding support for seniors. “Senior policy will be a priority of this government and this parliament” – he assured Gap. Speaking about “real support instruments” for seniors – such as the announced care voucher, respite leaves for caregivers, assistance for dependent and disabled people – he drew attention to retirees’ income and their debt. “What we have seen in recent years are the effects of inflation, the effects of higher prices, that is enormous debt of Polish seniors. Over six billion in the National Debt Register in this age group, sixty plus” – he said (bold from the editors). “Mainly because when illness, disability or the need for private medical benefits and services, for example rehabilitation, occur, Polish seniors simply got into enormous debt,” Szczerba said. When asked for additional retirement benefits, i.e. the 13th and 14th pensions, he declared that “they will be preserved permanently”, that “nothing that is given will be taken away”.

The amount of seniors’ debt quoted by the KO MP prompted us to check whether and how this debt actually increased. We asked the National Debt Register for statistics from recent years.

How did the debt of pensioners grow in Poland? 71.2 percent these are unpaid loans

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On the day when MP Szczerba talked about the debt of seniors in the 60+ age group, the National Debt Register (KRD) published the latest analysis. At the request of Konkret24, he sent us data on the dynamics of the debt of Polish retirees and how their number was growing – they cover the last 11 years, i.e. the period from 2013 to 2023 (as at the end of each year). “The data comes from our press releases and media publications (based on data from the KRD for a given year), and concerns persons entered in the KRD who are of retirement age, i.e. women 60+ and men 65+,” informs the KRD press office.

MP Szczerba talked about the 60+ group, but the current retirement age in Poland is 60 for women and 65 for men. It is true that in 2012 the PO-PSL government adopted a law planning a gradual transition increase and equalizing the retirement age in Poland to 67, but the change was ultimately not implemented. Reform withdrawn in 2016, already under the rule of the United Right.

The statistics sent to us by the National Debt Register apply to all 11-year groups: women aged 60 and over and men aged 65 and over. They show that at the end of 2013, the debt of Poles of this age amounted to PLN 1.1 billion. In 2014 – already PLN 2 billion, and by 2017 it increased to PLN 4.6 billion. A year later, it increased again by another billion – to PLN 5.6 billion. At the end of 2019 it amounted to PLN 5.7 billion, but at the end of 2020 (the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic) – already PLN 6.4 billion, the highest in the analyzed period.

MP Szczerba talked about the debt of pensioners at the level of “over six billion” – this remained the case for three years: 2020-2022. It was: PLN 6.4 billion; PLN 6.18 billion; PLN 6.22 billion. But at the end of 2023 it dropped to PLN 5.9 billion.

If we analyze the increase in total debt in this group of Poles, from 2013 to 2023 it amounted to 436.4%. It is worth adding that according to data from the Central Statistical Office, between 2013 (end of the year) and 2023 (mid-year) the number of people of post-working age, i.e. women over 60 years of age and men over 65 years of age) increased from 7.08 million to 8.71 million.

How to explain this slight decline in 2023? “One of the reasons for this state of affairs can be seen in the benefits that seniors have received in recent months. The March indexation of pensions was exceptionally high – 14.8%, with a guarantee of an increase in the pension benefit by a minimum of PLN 250. In addition, the 13th and 14th pension “- notes KRD. The analysis adds that retirees were “the only age group whose debt in 2023 systematically decreased practically throughout the year.”

Let us remind you: for the first time, 13th pensions, in the amount of PLN 1,100 gross (approx. PLN 888 net), were paid in 2019. They reached 9.8 million people. From 2020, the benefit is guaranteed by law as annual additional support. Then it amounted to PLN 1,200 gross, i.e. PLN 981 net (from: TVN24 Business). In 2021, the 13th pension was PLN 1,250.88 gross, in 2022 – PLN 1,338.44 gross. A year later, his 13th retirement was PLN 1,588.44 gross. From 2021, another additional pension benefit will be paid, commonly known as the 14th pension. Then its full amount, i.e. PLN 1,250.88 gross, received persons whose basic benefit did not exceed PLN 2,900 gross. The rest received a fourteenth reduction in accordance with the principle “one zloty for one zloty”. The maximum benefit amount in 2022 was PLN 1,338.44 gross, and in 2023 – PLN 2,650 gross. From 2023, the payment of the 14th pension is guaranteed act and is a permanent benefit, paid annually.

It is worth adding that pensions and annuities are indexed annually in March. The current government announces introduction of the second indexation in a year – when inflation exceeds 5%.

What were the debts of Polish retirees at the end of 2023? As much as PLN 4.2 billion, or 71.2 percent, are unpaid bank loans. Most of them banks sold to securitization funds. Another PLN 621 million are outstanding loans and credits that lenders are trying to recover themselves. Nearly PLN 688 million is unpaid alimony; PLN 188 million are housing debts; PLN 71 million is overdue telephone bills – explains KRD.

Average 18.5 thousand PLN of debt per one indebted senior

At the end of 2013, a total of 221,000 people were in debt in Poland. retirees. A year later, this number dropped to 190,000. For seven consecutive years, the number of indebted retirees increased: at the end of 2015, there were 203,000 of them, in 2018 – 328 thousand, in 2022 – 363 thousand. At the end of 2023, there were 319,000 in Poland. indebted pensioners – by 44 thousand less than a year earlier.

“Of the 6.14 million people receiving pensions in Poland, 319,000 are listed in the National Debt Register of the Economic Information Bureau. An average debtor has an average debt of PLN 18,500. Even though the number of seniors with arrears decreased by 44,000 year-on-year ., the average debt increased by PLN 1,300,” we read in the analysis of the National Debt Register.

Main photo source: Shutterstock





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