Hand-over of the annual report 2015 from the pensions ombudsmen to the Minister of Pensions, Daniel BACQUELAINE
This year the report attaches great importance to the fight against poverty among the elderly.
On the occasion of a press conference on Tuesday 19th April 2016 the pensions ombudsmen handed over their annual report 2015 to the Minister for Pensions, Daniel BACQUELAINE. This year the report attaches great importance to the fight against poverty among the elderly.
This report gives us the opportunity to reflect upon the effects of both the pension reform the government has implemented and the ones that are yet to be adopted. It has been established that this reform will permit a significant reduction of the poverty rate among the elderly. This finding can be explained in particular by the extension of one’s professional activity and the subsequent accumulation of new pension rights which are both the result of the raising of the statutory retirement age.
For its part the pensions ombudsman service contributes to reducing the poverty rate among the elderly and this from the time the service starts to investigate a complaint up to and including the moment on which it makes recommendations on the basis of the findings of the investigation. Therefore, the emphasis can be laid on two main suggestions:
- The first one relates to the conditions for granting the guaranteed income for the elderly, a kind of social benefit on top of one’s pension allocated to elderly people in financial trouble. The present rules and regulations impose – by default – an investigation of the rights to the guaranteed income for the elderly, but said investigation is only carried out for the benefit of employees and self-employed persons. Therefore, the pensions ombudsman service proposes to officially extend this investigation to civil servants having a small pension. The pensions ombudsman service also proposes to periodically investigate the right to the guaranteed income for the elderly. In this regard, the rights of pensioners in particular will be improved thanks to the merger of the pension institutions (National Pensions Office – Civil Service Pensions Office).
- The second one relates to reinforce the relation between the periods actually worked and the amount of one’s retirement pension. Since long, the pensions ombudsmen have suggested to henceforth take into account any and all periods actually worked and this for the purpose of calculating the minimum pensions in all pension programmes. The coalition agreement attaches great importance to this ambition. Therefore the conditions regarding the right to the minimum pension must be reformed by imposing a certain number of years actually worked.
The Minister for Pensions, Daniel BACQUELAINE, assured to give his full attention to these findings and this for the purpose of finding appropriate answers.
The Minister for Pensions, Daniel BACQUELAINE :
« The report from the pensions ombudsmen is a valuable tool to reflect upon the reforms that were adopted and to gain a sound insight into the future of our pension system. In addition to other studies (IMF, the Federal Planning Bureau, the National Bank of Belgium) this report highlights the positive effects of the pension reforms in the fight against poverty among the elderly. I wish that our policies will continue along this path by, inter alia, finding inspiration in the recommendations made by the pensions ombudsmen ».