Do not get two thousand: as Ukraine condemns its pensioners living in poverty (Apostrophe, Ukraine)

Spring 2020 was probably one of the most joyful periods for Ukrainian pensioners, because millions of our senior citizens received a variety of supplements, some even several.

Recall that in late April, almost 10 million pensioners received a lump sum of one thousand hryvnia — the so-called “coronavirus thousand” from President Vladimir Zelensky, who has promised it to anyone whose pension is less than five thousand hryvnias.

Also in April, seniors over 80 years — and in a country of about 1.5 million — had begun to receive monthly an additional 500 UAH.

And in may the long-awaited indexation of pensions, which was expected in March.

According to the Pension Fund, the recalculation affected 9.9 million pensioners, but in fact, pensions have grown at 8.36 million people. Indexed retirement pensions, superannuation, disability and loss of breadwinner.

The average increase was 11%. The average amount of the allowance is 260 USD. Almost half of pensioners increased payments only 100 hryvnias. Also without increasing left to those who have the actual payment amount given the allowances have already been at this time above the settlement.

Also, indexing is not touched those who receive so-called social pension. Its size is tied to the subsistence minimum for persons incapacitated, and is indexed twice a year (along with the cost of living) — in July and December. Now its size is 1638 USD. Accordingly, on 1 July it will increase to 1 thousand 712 hryvnias, and 1 Dec to 1 769 thousand hryvnia.

The dropped decades

The social pension in a narrow sense, a pension is not considered (it is not paid from the Pension Fund), as is social assistance. It is given to those people who have reached retirement age but have no insurance experience required for a full pension.

The pension reform of the requirements for the minimum length of service has increased significantly — from 2018 for retirement at age 60 it was 25 years, and now increasing annually by one year, until in 2028 to mark 35 years (if not come up with something else, and, as in the direction of increasing and, perhaps, to the downside, although it’s hard to believe).

Some of those who for 60 years was not specified insurance experience, simply not worked (or worked very little). Most women decide to dedicate themselves to raising children and maintaining a home. But there are among them men such as those who could not find work. Or yourself.

Especially a lot of such people among those in the millstone “dashing 90-x”. It is mainly people who at the time of the collapse of the Soviet Union was from 30 to 50 years, and which worked mainly on budgetary enterprises. In the last decade of the last century, such enterprises were closed EN masse who worked on them have retired, switched to self-employment, in private business, which, we note, was often not quite legal, travelled abroad, where he often worked illegally. It was the turn of the eras, systems, the whole lifestyle. One state system with a crash has collapsed, and the other, balancing on those fragments, has not yet appeared. People had to live somehow, and, to be honest, to survive.

As a result, this category of citizens fell to a decade, and many — and two decades, because in the twenty-first century conditions of employment has not changed much. But the requirements for experience have changed markedly, as mentioned above.

The concept of “insurance experience” in Ukraine appeared only in 2004. Before that also took into account “Soviet” the seniority. It is obvious that if people worked without employment record, his chance to earn legal work experience are close to zero. Even if the taxes were paid. For example, the author of these lines in the early 1990s, performed a number of works for a respected international organization and the pay, while very solid, were automatically deducted taxes. But to find documents to prove it is not possible today.

Those who went into exile and was even able to get there in legal work, also cannot count on enrollment of this time in labor, and now insurance experience — they do not work for the good of the Motherland and did not make contributions in her favor. And who now cares that abroad they were due to the fact that this homeland could not provide jobs and decent wages.

What to speak of those who converted to a private garage in the garage or engaged in the cultivation of vegetables on the adjoining land for a modest supply on food markets.

Thus, if in the capital and major cities to work all these years was relatively good, although it often had, and still often have to work in the “shadows” in small towns with work has always been significantly worse. This means that the number of citizens who are not eligible for pension, will only increase.

Unnecessary people

There is absolutely egregious examples. Here is one of them. The resident of a small town in the West of Ukraine. For about 60 years. In Soviet times, worked in the city-forming enterprise, which after the collapse of the USSR was closed. A woman a few years did not work, odd jobs, several times traveled abroad. Recently abroad were employed legally — indeed, in many European countries, our people, unlike homeland, in price. Achieved social assistance, because at the time, cared for a disabled child. Now getting 1638 UAH. How to live on this money, does not know.

Another example. A woman of about the same years, but from the big city. In recent years, almost deprived of the opportunity to move independently. A pension (disability) — all the same 1638 UAH. If not for the help of children, have no idea how I could survive on this money.

But if a man is alone, what then? There is no answer to this question.

The third example. Male, 61 years old. Worked in the enterprise in the USSR. In independent Ukraine, after the company closed, I took any job, went to work in Poland. Upon reaching the official retirement age applied to the Pension Fund branch in a residence. The pension was denied — not enough experience. Appointed social assistance. But, as with him home to his wife who receives a social pension, assistance is not even up to 800 hryvnia.

And this is not an isolated example. There are hundreds, if not thousands, and perhaps much more.

Recently, the network exploded with indignation because of the statements of the authorities that offer the Ukrainians UAH 5000 is quite a decent salary. And how then to assess the pension which, three times less?

You need to clearly understand that the pension is not a handout from the state those who do not want to work, and the reward for many years of work. And no matter how much and how long the current retired pay to the Pension Fund when the Pension Fund was not, and in General was a different country and in current country of replaced presidents, heads of government, changing legislation, including the Constitution. Current retiree anything should neither Brezhnev nor Gorbachev, nor Kuchma, nor Poroshenko, nor Zelensky, no one who becomes President after him.

But the government debt to pensioners is. And speech here not about specific amounts, but simply for social justice, about which so often say in Ukrainian politics.

Because in old age people have not the forces that in his youth and even into adulthood. Very often people lose their ability to work. Even if we are not talking about diseases. And disease with age is also escalating. This means that additional funds are needed for treatment. Domestic medicine does not give much hope, and the drugs are getting more expensive every year more than anything else.

Retired — in any country, not only in Ukraine — deserves a decent retirement. That is easily transferred to the youth — lack of money, poor living conditions, ailment, with age perceived significantly heavier. And such people should not be the feeling of uselessness, social isolation (it’s not about prevention covid-19 — that the authorities and society as a whole, do not care). People should not have to wait in horror of the approaching old age.

The necessary steps

Which may be because of all this? It is obvious that pensions should be revised. And not just the minimum — because the average pension in Ukraine today is barely more than three thousand hryvnias, that is a little more than 100 Euro (this is the exchange rate is not increased).

Given that the minimum pension in Ukraine is tied to the subsistence level (for persons incapacitated, it is still lower than average cost of living), need to be reviewed and its size.

In 2019, the then-Prime Minister Alexey Goncharuk said that the subsistence level does not correspond to reality, therefore was going to increase it to the level of the minimum wage (more than 4,000 USD). But in the budget 2020 has made all other figures, and now we “we have what we have”. Mid — level 2027 hryvnia now and 2 of 189 thousand hryvnias from December 1, for the disabled — 1 thousand 638 UAH now and 1 769 thousand hryvnias at the end of the year.

For comparison: in countries such as Britain, France, Austria, the Netherlands, the official subsistence minimum is more than a thousand euros. In Spain and Italy it is a bit not up to that level. In the former socialist countries, the subsistence minimum is even lower — from 300 euros in Bulgaria and Romania to € 600 in the Czech Republic. But this, of course, more than our 60-80 euros.

In addition, in line with the global practice should be to provide a pension to all elderly citizens, even if minimal. This pension for length of service shall be based on the principles of a funded system, which is also the international standard.

Recently, the Verkhovna Rada held parliamentary hearings, which adopted recommendations on the need to raise minimum wage to the level of the minimum wage. Recall that in 2020, it is 4 thousand hryvnia 723.

But even according to the Ministry of social policy, at current prices, the real cost of living has almost reached five thousand hryvnia (for the disabled, according to the Ministry, it is 3 thousand 264 hryvnias). So even in the case of raising the subsistence level to a “minimal salary” it will still be less than required.

Recommendation of people’s deputies gives a timid hope. But it is important to understand that it’s not even a bill.

And most importantly — you will listen to the recommendations in the government? This is a separate, though very important issue.