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Bulgarian women received minimal pensions in Greece after showing a rent contract

29 March 2009 / 17:03:47  GRReporter
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Many Bulgarian women received an additional 480 Euros to their pension without even expecting it in their wildest dreams. About this speaks lawyer Tatyana Griva in an interview for Marina Nikolova.

About a month ago the Greek media said that Bulgarians with only one year standing receive the minimal pension. Is this true?

Actually this is not pension but an addition to a pension. The pension plan says that based on the standing and the years worked in Greece, there is a small amount, which comes out as an addition to a pension. Analogically, if you had worked for two years, you will get ?30-?40. The minimum pension of the Greek National Retirement Institute is ?480, which is given as an addition. It is believed that one European citizen cannot live in a European country with ?30-?40. From then on, it is not a problem of the Bulgarian women, who are working here but of the retirement institute.

Have those who received pensions been working here?

They have. But those are single cases and there are not many people. Journalists exaggerate.

Do they receive pensions from Bulgaria?

 Yes, they receive their pension from Bulgaria too. They have houses and properties there. The employers of the retirement institute here always ask “where do you live?” and the answer is “I rent.” There is no criterion for a permanent citizen, because a permanent citizen is the one who rents their apartment. For the retirement institute this is enough to give a pension.

They don’t even need a green card or a residence permit?

They don’t want it and they don’t care. A pension is given based on a rent contract and a declaration, which is given by the institute and it’s filled out there. In the declaration they fill out that they are permanent citizens and that they are applying for an addition to the pension. It is as if the institute is saying “come so we can give you this pension.” At the beginning there were only single cases but after that an avalanche of Bulgarian women came, who went to make a rent contract so they can deceive the institute.

This is why the retirement institute is frozen right now. A decision is announced that based on the 5 years, which she had worked in Greece, she has the right for a ?60 pension, which she receives. But for the rest, which is given as an addition – the ?480 are frozen for now. Otherwise the addition to the pension is monthly and it adds ?60 or ?70, so one can get a minimum pension. We will wait and see what happens.

The Greek National Retirement Institute needs to define some criteria. People must show some kind of a note, which says that they are not Bulgarian citizens anymore, because this will cause them additional problems in the future. The institute does not have any control – they don’t know whether the woman who takes the money will live here or leave back for Bulgaria.

According to me, the problem is in the retirement institute. But there, they are working legally according to a European community directive. I have spoken to the director of the institute and she said “let whoever wants come and control us, we are working legally.”Each decision, which allows such a pension, includes the article in the law and the directive – article #178 from 1987.

What changed after the labor market opened? Is there a need for residence permits and other documents, which allow a person to get a job?

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