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Greek Christmas present: state cuts poverty allowance to 20,000 people with disabilities

The Greek state prepared an ugly Christmas surprise to 60,000 people who had been receiving poverty allowance and are below 65 years old. Applying one more loan agreement (Memorandum of Understanding) conditions, the lavish welfare benefits (EKAS) of 400-600 euro per month will be cut.

Thousands of retirees under age 65 will see their pension reduced drastically, as of 1 January 2014. At the same time , the government is considering to impose new income and asset criteria to all welfare benefits .

The measure affects a total of 60,000 pensioners, among them 20,000 who receive pension before the age of 65 due to their disabilities.

Of course, the measure affects for one more time the private sector.

As the January pensions will be paid by Greece’s private sector fund IKA today, the heartless present will land at an empty festive table.

“According to the Ministry of Labor , Social Security and Welfare, the total number of pensioners under the age of 65 years is 60,000 and the pensions they receive are between 400 and 600 euros.

Officials from pension funds estimate that the annual cost of allowances for people with disabilities approaches 38 million euro, while the total cost for disabled below 65 years old reaches 105 million euro.

Organizations of people with disabilities demand to be excluded from the measure even at the last moment before the Parliament goes to Christmas holidays, arguing that the measure pushes to rash  impoverishment thousands of people and households.

At the same time , the Ministry of Labour is planning to proceed to drastic cuts in welfare benefits , through the imposition of new income criteria.

According to welfare benefits supervising system “Helios”,  the Ministry of Labor &Co  has paid benefits to 164,106 beneficiaries registered in the municipalities. For the month December the p[aid amount for welfare benefits was €55,232,691. There are 48,729 pensioners who receive welfare benefits; 22,590 beneficiaries are people with disabilities. 29.5 % of beneficiaries who receive welfare benefits , without being necessarily pensioners are 25 years old or younger.  35.7 % of beneficiaries are aged 26 to 50 years old. (

There are four ways to tell the truth: the statistics way, the average way, the alchemy way and the real life way.  Remember when the Labour Ministry had claimed towards the Troika that the average Greek pension was 950euro? That was the ‘average way’… Private Skai TV reported this morning, that one million pensioners – from 2.5 million total – receive 500 euro. The alchemy way is to try to survive with 500 euro when you need at least nine hundred.

PS I remember the author of success story saying there would be no more income cuts…

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