Ministry: Estonian pensioners in Russia should receive their payments soon

Russian rubles.
Russian rubles. Source: ERR

Pension payments to Estonian pensioners living in Russia and Belarus were delayed as Estonia's Social Insurance Board (SKA) worked to figure out how to make payments in rubles. Estonia has since sent the money, however, and now it is up to pensioners' countries of residence to pay it out.

ERR was contacted by Tiit, an Estonian pensioner living in the Russian Federation, who said that as of Thursday, he had not yet received the pension he was granted by Estonia.

"I haven't received any sort of adequate response from Estonia's pension agency or Russia's pension fund, although I have contacted them repeatedly," Tiit said.

Leili Eenlo, head of cross-border social insurance at the Ministry of Social Affairs, admitted that Estonia's pension payments in Russia and Belarus had indeed been delayed.

"There was a lot of trouble with this because we had to pay in rubles, and the payment was late as a result as well," Eenlo told ERR on Thursday. "Russia and Belarus' pension funds have received the payments by now, and they have the money to be paid out to the pensioners [living] there. We don't know exactly when the funds will make these payments, but hopefully it will be in the next few days."

In order to transfer the pension funds, SKA had to open an account at another bank and negotiate with them to be granted exceptional permission to make this payment in rubles.

"SEB made this payment as an exception," Eenlo said. "Estonian banks will not be making any more payments in rubles, however."

The deadline for the next quarterly pension payment is at the end of August, and solutions are already being sought for how to make it.

"I suppose we'll have to find a correspondent bank to make the payment in rubles," the ministry official said. Estonia also has an account opened in Belarus, which may be another option for transferring the pension money.

More than 4,000 pensioners

A pension insurance cooperation agreement has been concluded between Estonia and Russia which regulates the mutual disbursement of pensions.

Payments between the two countries' relevant authorities are made on a quarterly basis: SKA pays out pensions for recipients of Estonian pensions living in Russia by paying the Pension Fund of the Russian Federation (PFR) a lump sum accompanied by a list of names and amounts owed. The PFR does the same in reverse.

More than 4,000 people live in Russia who receive a pension from the Estonian state, and some €2 million is sent to the PFR each quarter to be paid out to them in turn.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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