September started with a struggle between the government and President Petr Pavel over an amendment to the pension law. The head of state signed it with a day’s delay, giving prospective early retirees an extra month. Stricter rules won’t come into effect until October. Due to early retirement requests, some branches of the Social Security Administration are bursting at the seams.
In České Budějovice, early retirement applicants waited for several hours. On a Wednesday morning, there were around thirty people in the queue at nine o’clock. “I was here and waited four to five hours, so I hope it will be quicker. It’s true that once it was my turn, they were accommodating and helpful,” Vladislav Vávra told Právo. However, the display in the hall showed number 618 at nine in the morning, and he got 648.
She has five children and is ill. “I applied for early retirement last November, and they rejected it. It took three to four months. They told me I’m entitled to it when I’m sixty. Yet on TV, they said I could apply at 55,” said a dark-haired woman with five children before entering the Prague Social Security Administration in Vysočany yesterday. She came to apply for a second-degree disability pension.
“I’m very ill. I wanted to work, but no one accepted me,” she said, holding a queue ticket with number 138. Inside, the counters were serving clients with numbers eighty to ninety. “I’ll wait here,” she shrugged.
A record number of people are applying for early pensions this year.
Zdena, who will celebrate her 61st birthday, is seriously considering early retirement. According to her, her friend went into early retirement before the holidays, and he greatly enjoys his newly acquired free time. “And if I get less money? Nothing can be done, it’s a trade-off,” she claims.
In Brno, the social security administration sees the most people on Monday mornings. Most of them ask for comparative calculations, wanting to know their pensions if they went into early retirement or waited for the regular date.
Karel is in a similar situation, working as a manager of one of Brno’s sports facilities. On a Wednesday morning, he arrived at the Social Security Administration on Veveří Street. “I just wanted to know where I stand, whether it’s worth it for me to go into early retirement,” he told Právo.
Half of the pension applicants want early retirement.
On Wednesday, the social security administration in Břeclav efficiently managed the influx of applicants – after nine o’clock, the premises were empty for clients. However, everyone confirms they have more work. In Ostrava, at the District Social Security Administration, operations were normal on Wednesday. There were no queues anywhere.
“More people came in August; now it’s a regular situation,” reported the receptionist. The social administration has been facing an influx of applicants since last autumn. The number of applications significantly increased after the Ministry of Labor highlighted the advantages of early pensions in mid-October last year.
According to Jitka Drmolová, the Czech Social Security Administration spokesperson, the situation is not alarming anywhere. “It’s far from the extreme situation we dealt with last year. Although there is increased interest, we handle everything without needing to strengthen the numbers of people dealing with these matters,” she told Právo.