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There are over 91 thousand ghost pensioners in Greece

11 October 2012 / 16:10:20  GRReporter
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The results of the census, which ended a few days ago, show that 57,164 people were improperly receiving basic pensions from the National Insurance Fund. Another 33,960 were receiving auxiliary pensions from the same fund.
The number of ghost pensioners in the mutual fund of the employees of Ionian and Popular Bank, which were taken over by other financial institutions a long time ago, is 222 and 4,753 in the fund of the Greek telecommunications company OTE.
The losses to the Greek social security system are enormous given that 50 thousand illegally received pensions cost the National Insurance Fund 500 million euro.
The fund's management announced that it has suspended the payment of illegal pensions and started an investigation to find out their recipients. All those, who were receiving the pensions of deceased pensioners and there is evidence for that, will have to repay the amounts and will be brought up before the court for their actions.
This year's census was the second in a row. Last year, the inspection found 7 thousand ghost pensioners. Relatives of deceased pensioners were illegally receiving their pensions in half of the cases and the other 3,500 cases are under investigation.
It has not yet been estimated how much these frauds cost the treasury. So far, the court has been considering only 250 cases. According to sources, the specific fraud perpetrators will have to repay the insurance fund more than 7 million euro.
In the majority of cases, they are relatives of insured persons who have "forgotten" to declare the death of the pensioners and continued to receive their pensions every month. Most of the amounts due are to the amount of 80 to 100 thousand euro.
The checks focus on cases of pensioners over 90 years of age who did not appear in the census. According to sources, there are also those who were receiving pensions for 50 years and it is not clear whether they were receiving them in person or through an authorized relative.
Other frauds have been found along with them:
Granting disability pensions to absolutely healthy people. A typical example is a pensioner who was receiving such a pension for over a year while working as a bank employee. The judicial authorities have already addressed the case.
Granting pensions on the basis of alleged insurance. The examples are the fictitious insurance that agricultural associations in the Xanthi region have made to provide pensions to persons not entitled to a pension. The payment of the specific pension has been suspended and legal proceedings have been initiated for 54 cases.
Granting auxiliary pensions to people who live abroad and who are not entitled to the specific pension. So far, 58 frauds of this type have been revealed and the payment of pensions has been discontinued.

The payment of 14 thousand pensions by all insurance funds has been suspended. So far, 4,708 cases have been revealed in which the pensioners are now dead and their relatives were receiving their pensions. Another 5,140 cases are being investigated in order to reveal such frauds. In addition, another 4,361 pensioners did not appear in the census. The Agricultural Insurance Fund OGA had granted the majority of these pensions, which has provoked a second check. The frauds revealed so far are as follows:
1,014 cases of pensioners who did not appear in the census last year have been found. The payment of pensions was suspended in May.
The payments to 3,140 uninsured Albanian citizens of Greek descent, who are not eligible to receive pensions, have been suspended. Another 1,200 people did not appear to present the required documents. In this case, the payment of pensions has been discontinued too.
Similar is the case with two thousand adult Greeks who were born in the former Soviet republics (Russia, Georgia, Ukraine, etc.), Turkey and Egypt. The payment of their pensions was suspended on 1 September because they had not submitted the required documents. The documents submitted by 17 thousand pensioners in this category should be examined.
The second census of pensioners in liberal professions is expected to begin in November. So far, the payment of pensions in 137 cases has been suspended. Judicial investigation has been initiated for the other 65 cases.
The higher efficiency of this year’s inspection is due to the setting of criteria more stringent than last year. One of them was that the relatives of pensioners (in the cases when they receive pensions at the expense of pensioners) should present letters of attorney of more recent dates.
In order to minimize such frauds, the Ministry of Employment will introduce the requirement of a certificate of acknowledgement for any document that brings a change in the marital status of people as of the beginning of 2013. This will be possible with the introduction of an electronic connection between the notary offices and the records of insurance funds. Immediately afterwards, the Ministry will begin inspecting the recipients of widows' pensions, and the unmarried daughters who receive the pensions of their deceased fathers.



Tags: SocietyEconomyGhost pensionersInsurance fundsFrauds
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