Discomfort and disappointment prevails among pensioners, regarding the pension increases they will receive at the end of January, as, on the one hand, they correspond to a few euros, on the other hand, it is something that would have happened anyway and is not a decision of the Government. For this reason, they call on the Government to review the existing measures for pensioners and listen to their requests.
More specifically, the pensioners are asking for compensatory benefits for them, a reduction in the cost of medicines, as well as the inclusion of low-income pensioners in the 20% tariff for electricity, which will allow them to join the special population groups, which receive a reduced tariff every two months.
With reference to the increases that pensioners will receive, these are of the order of 3.89% in the basic pension and by 1.68% in the remaining part of the pension. As explained to REPORTER, the Secretary General of the Union of Cypriot Pensioners (ESK), Kostas Skarparis, “a pensioner who receives a 1,000 euro pension, for the first 465 euro will receive a 3.89% increase, that is, from 15 to 18 euro increase and on the remaining amount of the pension, i.e. 535 euros, he will receive 1.68%. These increases will be integrated into pensions from the end of January”.
Mr. Skarparis highlighted the discomfort that prevails among the pensioners by indicating that, “we are not satisfied with these increases, as these are small changes, which anyway would be made on the basis of the Legislation. We are not satisfied with the fact that the Government continues to close its ears, just like the previous Government, to our requests. Compensatory benefits should be given to pensioners to deal with punctuality. These percentage increases given today are not enough for the pensioners to face the emergency situation of the accuracy in the last year”, emphasized the president of the Union of Cypriot Pensioners.
Regarding the calculation of the increases that will be granted to pensioners at the end of the current month, Mr. Skarparis explained that, “every January, after a study done by the actuary of the Social Insurance fund, which is based on the incomes of the insured and salaried workers, the self-employed and the voluntarily insured for 2023, the incomes with which pensioners paid social insurance in 2022 are compared. The actual increase that will occur will be given on the pensions of the Social Insurance Fund and on the basic part of the pension which starts from 395 euros and reaches approximately 465”.
From then on, the pensions to be received will also include the ATA, which will however be in the supplementary part of the pension, and which, based on the final calculations of the Ministry of Finance, will ultimately amount to 1.68%. At the time, as Mr. Skarparis points out, the consumer price index increased by 2.48%.
In fact, he recalled the distortion of 2022, which essentially demonstrates the need to clarify the regime for calculating pension increases. “After a distortion introduced last January, the Government had to give 0.8% to prevent new pensioners from being deprived of the 4.2% that pensioners received in 2022. That is why it has been reinstated the Ministry of Labor, with the Social Insurance Fund, which makes an offset and says that the 0.8% given in January 2023 to the new pensioners should be deducted, while normally based on the study, it would be only 3.4% . There has been a distortion and for this reason we expect the pensions to be clarified in the next period of time”. Popis Kanaris, as well as the President of the Republic, Nikos Christodoulidis, who according to Mr. Skarparis, “in his speeches, expressed the need to correct this problem presented by the cost of purchasing medicines that are not covered by the NHS” .