Sudden Death For Greek Widows' Pensions: New Criteria, Cuts To Push 1000s More Into Poverty

The implementation of the Greek pension reform of 2016, will lead to the sudden death of incomes for widows, and as KeepTalkingGreece reports, will push a large portion of population further into poverty. Widows’ pensions will be cut down to 50% of the deceased’s pension and new more restrictive age-based criteria will go into effect this month.

According to so-called Katrougalos Law, a widow is entitled to receive a pension for the rest of her life, if she was at least 55 years old at the time of the spouse’s death.

  • If the surviving spouse was below this age limit, the pension is given initially for three years. Then it is interrupted and is granted again after the surviving spouse reaches the age of 67.
  • If the age of 55 in not completed within three years, the pension is cut and never granted again.

The state keeps in its pockets all the pension contribution paid by the deceased.

Exemptions are for widows with underage children until they reach 18th year of age and students until they reach the 14th year of age. Widows receive the pension independently of their age until the children/students reach the age limit.

Provision is for widows or unmarried children with disability over 67%. They receive the pension. However, if the disability occurred after the death of the spouse or father, this does not count as precondition to retirement.

Changes are also implemented to the age of the deceased.

The deceased insured person must have fulfilled completed at the time of death the requirements for pension due to age, invalidity, full or reduced pension.

“Old” insured – i.e. who started to pay social security contributions before 1993 – need to have 1,500 insurance days, 600 of them in the last five years.

A new criterion is the one linked to the length of marriage and the age difference between the deceased and the surviving spouse. Minimum length of marriage is now 5 years, from 3 previously. Exemptions are when the death was caused by an accident, if a child was born during the marriage or the widow was pregnant at the time of death. Unfortunately, I did not see details about the age difference between the spouses and how they can affect the pensions.

At the same time, widow pensions are lowered from 70% of the pension down to 50 percent.

What is interesting is that I read nothing about the old odd Greek regulation that daughters of civil servants, especially daughters of armed forces personnel, were granted the pension of their parents until the end of their life, if they were unmarried.

In times of recession and high unemployment, widows over 50 or 55 should seek a job or sink in poverty in a country without social safety net?

We have gone completely nuts here…

And it appears President Trump agrees.

Trump expressed his true sympathy for the plight in Greece and said that he will reveal his policy for the International Monetary Fund in the next days.

Speaking to a group of conservative US journalists in the West Wing of the White House, Donald Trump reportedly said “Greece!” They are in such a terrible situation there. It’s awful!”