The Ombudsman requested from the National Security Institute an official recalculation of the individual pension coefficient
The Ombudsman Diana Kovacheva sent a recommendation to the Managing Director of the National Social Security Institute Ivaylo Ivanov, in which she insisted on an official recalculation of the individual pension coefficient for 172,226 people in the midst of the fourth COVID wave or to move to abolish the deadline for this – September 30, 2022.
The reason for the recommendation of the public defender are the dozens of signals and questions of citizens who are interested in the adopted this year as of September 1st new changes to the Social Security Code (SSC). They change the mechanism for determining the reduction of the insurance income, from which the individual coefficient is calculated when determining the amount of labor pensions of persons born after December 31st, 1959 and insured in the universal pension fund (UPF).
“The citizens approve the possibility to achieve a smaller reduction in the individual coefficient, as this way they will actually receive a higher amount of pensions granted by the state social security (SSS)”, writes Diana Kovacheva.
She adds that those changes may be applied in calculating the amount of all personal and survivors’ pensions related to employment starting from 31st of August 2021, as well as pensions with an earlier starting date, if the procedure for granting them has not been completed by the time the new texts enter into force and their actual amount has not yet been determined.
As per the data from NSI 172,226 persons to whom the Social Security Institute currently pays such pensions could take advantage of this opportunity. Nearly 70% of the pensioners who will have the right to request recalculation are persons with disability pensions due to general illness, accident at work or occupational disease.
“From the information provided by the NSSI it is also clear that when a person is paid a pension equal to the minimum amount guaranteed by the state for the type of pension, but its actual amount is lower than this minimum amount, the recalculation may not be expected by people effect. The possibility of an increase is related to the personal nature of pensions and does not clarify which of the persons currently receiving state social security pensions can expect a positive result. The possibility of an increase is related to the personal nature of pensions and does not clarify which of the persons currently receiving state social security pensions can expect a positive result. These circumstances create a risk that a very large number of potentially eligible retirees will want to take the opportunity to request a recalculation of their pension, including when they are not convinced that their pension will be increased after the recalculation,” added Assoc. Prof. Diana Kovacheva.
She stresses that although the final deadline for submitting applications for recalculation of the pensions is September 30th, 2022, there is a real danger many pensioners will focus in the first days and weeks on the possibility of requesting recalculation. Because in case of delay in submitting the request, these people will receive a smaller pension in the respective months of postponement.
The Ombudsman warns that the danger of elderly people living alone or with limited mobility being directed to the NSSI offices, without actually being the perpetrators of such a recalculation, is not to be neglected.
„As the Ombudsman and the Defender of Citizens’ Rights, I believe that a situation should not be allowed in which the elderly, including those in poor health, living alone or with limited mobility, are faced with the choice of endangering their health by going to NSSI offices, at a time of increasing cases of COVID-19 and in the midst of the fourth wave of the epidemic, to submit their documents for pension recalculation. Eligible pensioners should also not be allowed to suffer the negatives of postponing the submission of their documents for the time after the expected fourth wave of COVID-19,” Kovacheva argued.
In order to prevent the accumulation of people in front of the NSSI offices, she recommends that the possibility of ex officio recalculation of the pensions of all eligible persons be considered.
“This approach will prevent social tensions in the event of a gathering of many people, in violation of anti-epidemic measures. In case that the possibility of ex officio recalculation of the pensions of persons entitled to such a right is not accepted, I demand that the deadline of September 30, 2022, by which persons can exercise this right, be abolished,” the ombudsman concluded.
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