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More than 1.2million Greek pensioners live on less than €500 per month

More than 1.2 million Greek pensioners live on less than 500 euros per month. The dramatic income decreases in main and supplementary pension are shown in data released by the System for Pensions Control and Payment “ILIOS“. A 6% deducted also from the low main pensions goes for  health care.

The date refer to main and supplementary pensions but also to pensions due to disabilities as well as for widow’s.

The average pension is at 722 euros per month and it refers mostly to pensioners of the country’s private sector. Supplementary pension average is at 170 euro.

The data refer to the period July 2015 – December 2016. As of January 2017, pensioners’ income decreased more due to cuts in the poverty allowance for low-pensioners EKAS.

Total number of pensioners (main pension): 2,631,052  (Dec 2016)

Monthly spending: € 2,336,678,419

€0,01 -€500 received by 649,586 people

€ 500 to € 1,000 received by 962,466 people


Despite the general increase of the retirement age, 700,000 pensioners are between 51 and 65 years old.  I suppose, this has to do with the retirement of members of armed forces and other groups of uniformed personnel that retires after 25 years of service. One more reason is the mass early retirement of civil servants after 2010, with 25 years of service.

  • 24% of pensioners are over 81 years old
  • 31% are between 71 and 80 years
  • 39% are between 51 and 70
  • 1% are pensioners under the age of 25.

Retirees aged between 56 and 65 receive the highest pension amounts, from 1,000 to 1,137 euros.

Striking examples:

  • 10 retirees each receive four main pensions, four supplementary pensions and twice shares from dividends (for civil servants)
  • 14 retirees receive supplementary pension between 1,500-2,00 euros and 2 more than 2,500 euros.

It should noted that in December 2016, the largest number of new main pensions is found in private sector social security fund IKA. The rate was 41% and it concerned pensioners aged 56-60 and 61-65 years.

With unemployment steadily over 23% – occupationally also higher during the economic crisis- an unemployed over 50 has absolutely no chance to get a job in the private sector. Many prefer to go into retirement even on a low-pension to escape the desperate job search. Unemployment allowance of 365 euros runs for only one year. After this period, the unemployed is left alone and has also no health care coverage.

The problem with the low-pensions is the absence of welfare, while consumer price are on permanent increasing mode. Not only due to extra tax charges.

PS in the last 2-3 weeks, the price for half a kilo filter coffee went up to €8.40 from 5 euro, while the price for one liter of olive oil went to up to €7.10 from 4.90.

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  1. €0,01 -€500 received by 649,586 people -> ok
    € 500 to € 1,000 received by 962,466 people -> ? I see 708’448

    We could also say that a third of people receive more than 1000/month…

    Tell me how it’s mathematically possible to often be retired well before 50 years old with a good pension? Like it has been the case for 20 years.

  2. My UK State Pension is £513 per month, at today’s exchange rate that about €595.

  3. talegame and imagine these pensions are after all the cuts!!!!
    imagine how high they were in the party days!!!

    being serious now, of course Greeks are angry, they were promised really high pensions and now all of a sudden they don’t get them anymore. i don’t blame them.

    pensions will be cut again even after this as they are still too high. hard to accept, but that is what will happen.

    the greek pension should be at 500 EUR given to everyone over 65 automatically.

    • keeptalkinggreece

      OGA pensions were always 300 euro per month. and older generations, 80+ from the private sector have been at 490-600, max 700 euros.

  4. My favorite was a pension i heard of a trolley bus driver before the cuts. He retired at 50 years old, on a pension of 2100 EUR total, with a lumpsum of 200,000 EUR!
    Absolute madness. No wonder the country is more than broke.
    This will take many years to solve, whether the IMF, Schauble, or whoever else is dealing with Greece, are around to see it being solved.

  5. Everyone has a favorite story or a personal anecdote about pensioners in Greece that they read about or heard about. It’s like the Polish plumber in France or the Welfare Queen in the US. They’re catchphrases and political tools used to shape public perception and justify “reforms.” However, anecdotal data is not really the best data to use to deploy a fact-based policy.

    • keeptalkinggreece

      people love to stick to clishes. anything else would demand the work of their brain cells.

  6. Comparing the Greek pension to the seemingly low English pension only in terms of the amount of money is an old trick. It completely ignores the fact that ALL healthcare is free including hospitalisation and medicine, that there are supplementary benefits for heating, that there is free council care for the elderly and that the full pension is granted to pensioners living in public [state] housing.

    Whereas the Greek pension is ‘all in’ and if you were unemployed before you have no access to medical care. Here public housing and full medical care is only for migrants…

  7. For over a decade I visit a small Greek island and have become part of a very small community. This is a settlement of approx. 20 small holiday boat houses on the beach. Most of the owners also own a house in the main village on the island and an apartment in Athens plus a decent car. They live in Athens in the winter months and spend the rest of the year on the island. These people are between 52 – 68 years old, all pensioners. None of them had a fancy job, just working class folk with 2 to 3 children.
    We are good friends, and to stay good friends we do not discuss this issue, but I always wonder how on earth they manage. I have a well paid job, own one house and a car and for the life of me I cannot afford their life style.

    • keeptalkinggreece

      it’s the Greek miracle… I cannot afford either. Suggestions:main residence in village is cheap and probably belongs to family since ages, earn in tourism in summer, pay very little tax, have a job in public sector or state-run enterprise, go into retirement with 25 years of duty or even after 15 years until 2 decades ago.