Social Affairs Committee to discuss support for pensioners living alone
The Social Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu will be discussing a bill on Tuesday which will establish a support payment for pensioners living alone, the amount of which has been set at 115 euros per month in 2017.
According to MP Aivar Kokk (IRL), chairman of the Social Affairs Committee, beginning next year nearly 85,000 pensioners living alone will begin to receive the support payment, which is meant to help increase their financial independence as well as decrease poverty.
"Studies have found that the financial situation of pensioners living alone is worse than that of those who live together," explained Kokk. "While the relative poverty rate of all people aged 65 and over is nearly 36 percent, in the case of pensioners living alone that rate is twice as high, or nearly 74 percent."
According to the bill, those reaching retirement age who have lived alone for the six months preceding the annual October payout and whose net monthly retirement pay falls below 470 euros per month, or 1.2 times the average monthly pension, will begin receiving the extra support payment.
Pensioners will not need to apply for the support payment themselves; eligibility for it will be determined by the Estonian National Social Insurance Board following the verification of relevant data. A pensioner’s wages and other forms of income will not be counted in payment of the support, which will not be taxed with income tax, and the support paid will likewise not be included as income when calculating subsistence allowance.