Aladrović: Payment and amount of COVID pension supplement depends on indexation

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Minister of Labour, Pension System, Family and Social Policy Josip Aladrović has said that talks are underway with pensioners' associations on the payment of a one-off COVID supplement but whether it will be paid and how much it will amount to will be known after pension indexation data is released.

Pensioners' associations have called for a one-off, graded COVID supplement on pension allowances depending on the amount of individual pensions and Aladrović told reporters in Government House on Wednesday that media reports that pensioners with allowances of up to HRK 2,710 (approx. €358) could receive a COVID supplement of €200 (HRK 1,500) were not correct.

"The amount of €200 that appeared in the media today was not communicated by pensioners' associations... I must admit that that amount is not realistic at the moment regarding the budget," said Aladrović.

He added that pensioners' associations had asked for a one-off COVID supplement ranging from €50 for pensioners whose allowances exceed HRK 5,000 to €150 for pensioners whose allowances are below HRK 2,710, adding that that would require an amount of HRK 1.1 billion from the budget.

"If the pension indexation is lower than we had planned, and by all indications it appears it will be, we can discuss a supplement," he added.

At the moment all options are open - the supplement may not be paid and it may be paid. If a decision is made to pay it, we will discuss its amount and the number of brackets, which should be higher than that proposed by pensioners' associations, the minister said.

We have been discussing a COVID supplement for some time now. There is a strong initiative by pensioners' associations for the supplement to be introduced but we have to be aware of the budget's limitations and that we have more than 1.2 million pensioners, which is a heavy expense for the budget, Aladrović said.

The pension indexation should be known at the end of this week or early next week when the state statistics office releases complete data on wage and price trends in the second half of 2020.

Text: Hina