More than 800,000 people have claimed a pension from the Social Security Foundation (IKA) in the last six years, peaking in 2010 with 167,665 workers filing for retirement.
The average number of people who retired during this period, meanwhile, is 134,000 a year, which is more or less equal to the number of applications for pensions that have built up at IKA and auxiliary fund ETEAM, according to data presented to Parliament earlier this week by Alternate Social Security Minister Dimitris Stratoulis on IKA’s pension backlog.
There are currently more than 130,000 pension applications that need to be processed as the funds struggle with staff shortages and a cash shortfall in the state sector. Applicants in Attica need to wait an average of between 12 and 24 months for their applications to go through the system, while in the rest of the country the process takes from two to six months.
The data further indicated that when negotiations with foreign creditors turn to the issue of social security reforms – one of the constant snags in talks since the start of the crisis – and the possibility of more adverse retirement terms, workers feel compelled to file as soon as possible.
This trend peaked in 2010 and 2012, two crucial years in Greece’s bailout talks.
The figures also showed that throughout Greece there are currently 56,615 applications waiting to be processed for main IKA pensions, compared with 63,075 in March 2014 and 57,394 in October 2014. Retirees who are entitled to a pension from multiple funds and are still waiting to be approved come to 10,472, while pending supplementary pensions are at 66,220.
Stratoulis said that the number of new applications is decreasing, with data showing that they have come to 6,985 in the first quarter of this year compared with more than double that in the same period in 2012, when the number reached 13,915.