Benefits restructure sees rise in pension payouts despite fall in claimants
The amount paid out in state pensions rose in Q2 2019, compared with the previous quarter, even though the number of pensioners decreased, ERR's online news in Estonian reports.
Pensions took an extra €12 million from state coffers in the second quarter of the year, albeit by 2,700 fewer claimants compared with the first quarter.
The fall in recipients does not result from a spike in the death rate, however, but rather the reallocation of disability benefits claimants to the unemployment fund (Töötukassa) and away from the state pensions sector.
"The number of pensioners has declined primarily due to [changes in] the disability pension," said Kati Kümnik, Head of the Compensation Department at the Social Insurance Board (Sotsiaalkindlustusamet).
"This type of pension is no longer defined, meaning people with reduced working capacity receive benefits through the unemployment fund [instead]," Kümnik continued.
The increase in the amount paid out in state pensions can be explained by indexation changes which have boosted the total amount paid out by the Social Security Board by 1 percent.
The second quarter of 2019, the Social Insurance Board paid over €481 million in pensions to more than 343,600 pensioners. Including family and social benefits and benefits, the Agency paid out €639 million over three months.
A total of 343,622 individuals claimed state pensions in Q2 2019, 2,701 fewer on quarter.
State pension payouts came to €481 million, rising to €639 million when family and social support is included.
The most populous county, Harju County, unsurprisingly took the largest slice of this money – over €263 million, followed by Ida-Viru County at €72.3 million and Tartu County at €69.9 million. Hiiu County was the smallest drain on this type of welfare, at €4.6 million.
Through the first half of 2019, the Social Insurance Board disbursed a total of €1.25 billion, the bulk of which went on pensions (€926.6 million for 345,116 recipients). €282.2 million of this was allocated to family benefits for close to 162,000, over €32.5 million in disabled benefits went to 158,330 people, with other benefits coming in at a reported €5.4 million.
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Editor: Andrew Whyte