Croatian ‘National Pension’ Coming Soon – Who Has Rights To It?

Lauren Simmonds

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 20th of September, 2020, assistant Minister of Labour, Melita Cicak, recently stated that “everything is ready for the introduction of the national benefit for the elderly”, referring to the pre-election promise of HDZ from 2016 which was once referred to as a ”national pension” before being changed.

This refers to a monthly allowance of 800 kuna for citizens over the age of 65 who haven’t, for whatever reason, acquired the right to a regular pension. The project was met with both praise and criticism, writes Danijel Nestic from the Institute of Economics in Zagreb believes that there will not be many beneficiaries of this so called ”national pension” fee.

“Overall, we shouldn’t expect a larger number of completely new beneficiaries and therefore the impact on poverty among the elderly will be extremely limited. It shouldn’t be forgotten that very ambitious announcements were made, that there was talk of a ”national pension”, but over time these ambitions fell, and the word ”pension” was dropped because both experts and pensioners’ associations were against the name being used in the sense of benefits like this, which in actual fact is social assistance,” said Nestic.

Nestic believes that some will choose this form of compensation instead of the guaranteed minimum compensation because it isn’t possible to receive both, but he doesn’t see it as a threat to the pension system.

“The national benefit for the elderly belongs to the social welfare system and the social welfare centres have the knowledge and resources to implement it,” said Nestic, adding: “This benefit is still lower than the lowest pension, and it will be received by people who have really low or absolutely no income. After all, social assistance has existed in the social welfare system for a long time now and is paid in similar amounts, so it can’t be said that it has called the fairness of the pension system into question,” he said.

The National Allowance for the Elderly Act, passed last spring, will enter into force on January the 1st, 2021, and all procedures related to it will go through the Croatian Pension Insurance Institute (HZMO).

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