A 90-year-old woman discovered that she was fit to work, despite her multiple health problems. The Greek national social security fund decided to cut her invalidity pension and as usual the employees also checked the box “fit to work.”
On the day of her 90th birthday, the woman complained to a private television station about the outrageous decision.
“I walk and fall down, I walk and fall” the woman said slightly laughing when she was asked by the magazine presenters whether she was fit to work.
Mrs Despoina said that she was receiving 551 euro per month which was cut down to 300 after the poverty allowance (EKAS) was scrapped.
The single woman was receiving part of her father’s pension according to old Greek social security laws that allowed unmarried children of eligible pensioners to receive their parents pensions.
With growing age and multiple health problems, the pension status was apparently turned into “pension due to invalidity” for those the social security fund committees diagnose an invalidity of more than 87%.
Last time, the committee decreased the woman’s invalidity percentage and the pension was cut.
“I appealed the decision and had to pay also a fee of 46 euros for the appeal,” Mrs Despoina stressed.
Review of her appeal may take more than 2-3 months and the outcome is not certainly positive for the woman.
The loan agreements and the Troika put an end to several regulations with regards to pension funds including also the scrapping to the poverty allowance and stricter criteria to invalidity percentages. For example, somebody in progressed stage of dementia would get only 56% of invalidity if not bed-ridden. Even if the person is fully dependent on aid to come through the day and would starve in front of a full plate of food or dehydrate in front of a water glass.
In the case of Mrs Despoina, it is more than obvious that Greece will overcome its financial situation and pension funds registers will be full, if the pension fund saves 3,600 euros per year and enforce a 90-year-old to work.
With two cancer operations that left him invalid, a pacemaker and other health issues, a 93-year-old neighbor had 81% invalidity for several years. After the latest review of his invalidity by the committee in 2017, his percentage was reduced to 78%.
“Had I reached 82%, I could claim some benefits,” the man who lives on a full self-employed pension of 600 euros per month told me.
All the gains he has from the invalidity pass is a free monthly card for public transport means in Athens – which he hardly use -, a minimum tax return and a discount at the public power corporation.
He has been also declared “fit for work.”
He had also appealed the decision and paid the fee but the percentage remained the same. “No benefits, just 46 euros less in my pocket,” the man had said with a voice trembling from anger.
A woman I know who is 80 and has been a paraplegic since a car accident over 50 years ago called to say that the Greek government performed a miracle and declared her capable of walking.
As someone who has met an “unmarried lady with her father’s pension” who was 3 kids and lived with her SO but didn’t marry so as not to lost the income, this lady is paying for years of bleeding the state. 90 years is old and certainly unfit to work, but the thought that she received an unmarried pension for her whole life without baring an eye is repulsive. How can people expect to be part of the result without willing to be part of the process? Complaining is easy.