Greece’s low-pensioners have been waiting for the extra Christmas bonus announced by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras for days. The magic, sparkling moment was set as December 22nd. The money started to flow into bank accounts already since Wednesday afternoon. Defying the icy-cold weather and Schaeuble’s objections, dozens of elderly rushed to ATMs to withdraw the unexpected Christmas present together with the pension for January.
Trikala: Despite the low temperatures, pensioners formed long queues in the evening.
Those unable to use cards stood rushed to the banks as early as possible in the morning and stood line for many hours before the doors opened.
1.6 million low-pensioners receive the Christmas bonus which is the difference of the pension and lump sum to the amount of 850 euro. If a pensioner receives €600, the Christmas bonus will be 250 euro.
Due to capital controls, the amount that can be withdrawn within two weeks is €840.
At the same time, 240,000 low pensioners will see the poverty allowance (EKAS) cut by 50%. It means they will lose €1,380 per year.
I asked a neighbor how will he spend the Christmas bonus. “I will have my bones warmed,” the 87-year-old answered with a bright smile. He has been living without heating for the last three years.
He went broke and spent all his savings after austerity cuts in 2010 deprived him of the 13th and 14th pension. He lost €1,200 per year.