Bulgaria: Minimum Pension Becomes BGN 370
Only GERB voted against, the other parties agreed
The minimum pension in Bulgaria will be BGN 370 (EUR 189.15) from October 1 this year - this is what the deputies in the Committee on Budget and Finance voted for today during the second reading of the budget update for 2021.
"For" were from all parliamentary groups, except GERB, which even refused to be present in the hall, and some of their members entered only to argue their own proposals. Even DPS supported the project, apparently with a preliminary understanding between the groups.
It is important to know that there will be an increase for all pensions - an average of almost 13% because in addition to raising the minimum pension, MPs adopted the decision to change the weight of the coefficient for a length of service from 1.2 to 1.35. However, this will only apply to actual seniority. The converted length of service remains with a coefficient of 1.2.
This was also the proposal of the government, which, however, provided for a minimum pension of BGN 340. The purpose of the increase of BGN 20 is not to reach the scheme in which social benefits should push pensioners' money to the poverty line, which is currently BGN 369.
At the same time, the so-called "poverty" supplement has remained the same for next year, when the poverty line will be BGN 413. Those who remain below it will be able to apply for social assistance up to this line. Thus, in reality, the minimum pension for honored pensioners will be BGN 413 from January 1. However, it will not apply to absolutely everyone, because the material assets of pensioners will be looked at.
The idea of BSP to recalculate the pensions with the average insurance threshold for 2018 was not accepted, but the left supported the general decision - with reservations.
As expected, GERB's proposal not to recalculate the pensions, but also to increase the supplement from BGN 50 to BGN 100, was not accepted. This idea was criticized by all parties in the hall. The Minister of Finance was particularly outraged when he asked what would happen from January 1, 2022, if the next parliament did not have time to adopt a budget. In such a scenario, and if GERB's proposal was accepted, then after the new year the pensioners would take their old pensions. Denitsa Sacheva could not answer adequately.
It remains to be seen whether the obvious agreement will withstand the vote in the National Assembly. This will be on Tuesday. If the correction passes, then Bulgarian pensioners will be able to enjoy slightly higher pensions. However, this increases the deficit in the system.
"Congratulations to the Bulgarian pensioners," exclaimed Lubomir Karimanski of TISP.
GERB's other proposal - to remove the pension ceiling, which they requested in the current procedure, was not accepted.
Maya Manolova's idea to increase maternity in the second year to BGN 650, which is now BGN 380, was also rejected.
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