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Pensioner poverty: how many do not get the minimum pension. Analysis

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The United Right government wants to ask in the referendum about raising the retirement age, and PiS returns to the promise of seniority pensions. However, there are data that those in power are unlikely to provide when discussing pensions: how the number of retirees receiving a pension lower than the minimum has increased and how their percentage among all those receiving the benefit has increased.

At the Law and Justice program convention on September 9, Jarosław Kaczyński announced that if his party wins the parliamentary elections, he will introduce the so-called seniority pensions – women will be able to retire after 38 years of work, and men after 43 years. “In 1980, in the August Agreements, there was talk about seniority pensions. It took a long time, because over 43 years have passed since the signing of these agreements. Today I can happily say that we will introduce seniority pensions: 38 years for women and 43 years for men “- announced the president of PiS. This means that women who started working at the age of 18 will be able to retire at the age of 56, and men at the age of 61, i.e. four years earlier than currently. How we wrote in Konkret24the introduction of seniority pensions is one of PiS’s unfulfilled promises.

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The announcement of the PiS president was commented on September 10 in “Kawa na ława” on TVN24 by the MP of the New Left, Magdalena Biejat, pointing out: “We now have a problem with the increasing poverty of pensioners resulting from the fact that people who worked in garbage trucks are reaching the retirement age and entering the market. At the moment, the number of people who cannot afford it, who do not even receive the minimum pension because they were forced to pay for garbage, has reached PLN 365,000 (an error, it is about people – ed.). People who do not receive even these PLN 1,400 per hand.

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Over 365 thousand “poor pensioners”. How their percentage increases among everyone

We checked: in fact, according to data from the Social Insurance Institution, there were 365.3 thousand people receiving pensions lower than the minimum at the end of 2022. This benefit is offered to people of retirement age who are unable to demonstrate the required length of service. Due to failure to meet the seniority condition, their pensions are not equalized to the minimum amount.

This results from Art. 87 of the Act on pensions and annuities from the Social Insurance Fund. The regulation provides information on pension requirements: for men – at least 65 years of age and a contributory and non-contributory period of at least 25 years; for women – at least 60 years of age and a contributory and non-contributory period of at least 20 years. If these conditions are not met, a pension lower than the minimum is calculated. The minimum amount is determined by the Act on pensions and disability pensions from FUS. Changes in the amount of the lowest retirement benefits are specified in amendments to this Act. The amount is systematically indexed – now it is PLN 1,588.44. In 2022 it was PLN 1,388.44.

How the number of retirees receiving pensions lower than the minimum increased ZUS

Since 2011, when ZUS publishes such data, the number of people receiving a pension lower than the minimum has increased 23.9 thousand. (2011) to 365.3 thousand – that is, more than fifteen times. Compared to 2016, i.e. to the year before the reinstatement of the lowered retirement age, the increase was fourfold – at the end of 2016, the so-called There were just over 100,000 poor pensioners 95 thousand

How has the share of the lowest pensions in all pensions changed?ZUS

Over the years, the percentage of “poor pensioners” among all people receiving pensions has also increased. In 2011, those below the lowest constituted 4.2 percent. all paid; in 2016 the percentage was 5.8 percentafter the change in pension regulations in 2018 8.5 percentand currently – 9.6 percent.

The cumulative effect of retirement

Already two years ago, government representatives knew that the growing number of “poor pensions” was the result of lowering the retirement age. As he explained on April 23, 2021 in response to a parliamentary question then Deputy Minister of Family and Social Policy, Stanisław Szwed, “a significant increase in the number of beneficiaries receiving a pension at an amount lower than the lowest recorded in December 2017 and 2018 coincides with the restoration of the retirement age.” He further wrote: “The consequence of restoring the retirement age in force until 2012 (60 years for women and 65 years for men) was the cumulative retirement of people, which included lowering the retirement age and enabling retirement at a lower retirement age. Most of these people used benefits from the Labor Fund or had no income.

The effect is that – as we read in the ZUS publication “New system pensions paid in December 2022. in an amount lower than the amount of the lowest pension” – the average amount of the “poverty pension” collected in December 2022 was PLN 882.19; 14.6 percent people received it in the amount of PLN 600 and less; 19.9 percent – in the amount between PLN 600.01 and PLN 800.00; and 65.4 percent in the amount above PLN 800.

The need to extend professional activity

Representatives of the current government still emphasize that their social policy is to the benefit of seniors. However, their public statements omit statements contained in government documents. It is written there, among others: “The main challenges of senior policy include: the need to extend the period of professional activity and increase the social and civic activity of older people.” In prepared by the Ministry of Family and Social Policy “Information on the effects of the Act of November 16, 2016. on amending the Act on pensions and annuities from the Social Insurance Fund and certain other acts in the period 2019-2021″ we read: “Poles, despite reaching the statutory retirement age and retiring, continue their professional activity to an increasing extent.” Only in the times of the rule of the United Right, about what we wrote in Konkret24 – from 2016 to 2021 – the number of working retirees increased by 36.42 percent. This means that the 2017 decision to lower the retirement age did not convince many people to end their professional activity.

According to the Ministry of Family and Social Policy, “each year of work longer after reaching retirement age is approximately 10-15% higher pension at the time it is granted.”

Poles are to vote on the issue of retirement age in a referendum on October 15, which will be held together with the parliamentary elections. One of the four referendum questions is: “Do you support raising the retirement age, including restoring the retirement age increased to 67 for women and men?”

Main photo source: Shutterstock

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