I Wanna Grow Old with You: What Gov’t Pensioners in Other Countries are Getting for What They Paid For
by Abu Poblete
After turning 60, Filipinos receive their retirement pension whose price depends solely on the person’s paid contributions, credited years of service and number of dependents.
The retirement benefits in the Philippines are very easy to remember: the monthly pension, a lifetime cash benefit paid to a retiree who has paid at least 120 monthly contributions to the SSS prior to the semester of retirement, and the lump sum amount–which is granted to a retiree who has not paid the required 120 monthly contributions. The lump sum amount is equal to the contributions paid by the member and employer including interest. This means that not everyone gets the same amount of benefits, and you’re even lucky if you’re receiving any at all.
Retirement is supposed to be the time for you to take a breather from all those years in the workforce, but a benefit formula that only gives a measly P1,500 (or even less) as thanks to the people who helped shape the country is nothing short of questionable and downright insulting. Being denied a P2,000 pension hike (while government officials are getting exponentially more) is the thanks our lolos and lolas are getting for taking care of their families and being productive members of society.
But there is some hope to break away from this kind of system, and other countries have already trekked through that path. Here are 8 countries who have world-class pension systems and what their lucky retirees are getting.
Australia’s age pension, the third in the Mercer index, is the largest and most expensive part in the country’s social security budget. Australia’s retirement age is 65 and over, and their number has increased by 533,000 in five years. But what’s commendable about their pension system is the government’s success in regulating and implementing its requirements, a high participation rate and the large amount of savings of the population.
Since 1992, superannuation payments or 9.5% of a working citizen’s salary have been required. Australians who have lived in the country for at least 10 years with complete income and asset requirements also have the state pension to support them.
Every two weeks single pensioners get a maximum payment of $776.70 (P26,161.44), while couples receive $585.50 (P19,721..29). They also receive a payment supplement of up to $63.50 (P2,138.86) every two weeks for pharmaceutical purposes.
Along with the financial support from the Australian government is the universal health care benefit scheme, utilities allowances, the Home Care package, Home and Community package, as well as cheaper travel and retail discounts.
For reference, one liter of water in Australia is worth P88.
(AUD1 = P33.87 as of this writing.)
As the 10th in the Mercer index, Germany has proven that their welfare benefits system is one of the best in the world. It is an earning-related pay-as-you-go system based on the pension points that workers earn during their career. The system also provides a means-tested safety net for low-income pensioners which means those who don’t have the means to pay for their health insurance system don’t have to.
Pensioners earn pension points by paying into the healthcare provision, unemployment insurance and pension insurance that members of the workforce pay with their salaries. Once paid, pensioners are entitled to a wide range of benefits like healthcare, prescriptions and glasses.
The average monthly pension for men is around €1,052 (P54,890.70) for those in the old West German states, while women receive €521,(P27,184.46) and €705 (P26,819.22). The retirement age of Germany is 67 and 85% of the workforce are enrolled to the system.
Although Germany’s comprehensive pension system is impressive, the workforce of the country is slowly ageing. As of 2012, 826,000 Germans who are 65 and over chose to stay at work.
For reference, a one-bedroom apartment has a monthly rent of €626.87 or P32,751.39.
(€1 = P52.24 as of this writing.)
Kokumin Nenkin has three kinds of basic pension: the Old Age Basic pension, Disability Basic pension and the Survivors Basic pension. The Old Age Basic pensioners are for those who paid their national pension contributions for 25 years or more. Those who have paid contributions for 40 years receive a yearly amount of ¥792,100 (P319,511.23 or P26,625 per month). The Disability Basic pensioners are those who acquire a sickness or injury during their pension membership. They receive an annual pension of ¥990,100 (P399,378.95 or P33,281 per month) for grade 1 disability, and ¥792,100 for grade 2 (P319,511.23 or P26,625 per month).
One in four Japanese are 65 and over–a number which is expected to rise by 2025. With a high life expectancy, Japan’s government is now concerned with welfare in the coming decades and how it will be paid if fewer people are able to work.
One apartment bedroom in the city is worth ¥95,749.67 or P38,552.95.
(¥1 = P.40 as of this writing.)
5. United States
For US retirees, their social security is one of the most common sources of income where they contribute in their career days through their tax. In 2013, the average annual benefit from social security was $15,132 (P722,779.98 or P60,231 per month). The national average wage in 2013 was $44,888 (P2,144,075.32 or P178,672 per month).
A liter of gasoline in the US is worth $.064 or P30.55.
($1 = P47.74 as of this writing.)