On Thursday, the Czech Social Security Administration announced that from September, people who receive their pensions in cash via post would have to pay an extra six crowns for this service. Clients pay 29 crowns, increasing to 35 for each pension installment. This fee does not apply to those who began receiving pensions before 2010, as the Social Security Administration pays the fee on their behalf.
According to the Social Security Administration spokesperson, Jitka Drmolová, the extra charge is outside the stable pricing structure of the Czech Post. The spokesperson further explained that the charged amount would be deducted from the pension amount paid to the individual. The authority sent out approximately 674,100 pensions through the post last year, with around half of those individuals receiving them in person at post office branches.
The other half chose to receive them via home delivery. According to the latest figures, a quarter of all pensioners in the Czech Republic receive their pensions through the post. Three-quarters of pensioners receive their pensions through bank transfers. Despite the exemption for older pensioners, representatives for seniors have criticized the increase, saying that it will disproportionately affect those on a fixed income.
Lenka Desatová, the chair of the Council of Seniors, said the additional fee was “not socially sensitive” and would not improve the profitability of the postal service. Furthermore, many people still rely on receiving their pensions in cash at a post office, as they do not have access to the internet or bank accounts. Ms. Desatová added that the increased fee was likely to be an attempt to pressure people to use bank accounts, particularly given the planned closures of some post offices.
The spokesperson for the Social Security Administration has advised pensioners to have their pensions paid into their bank accounts or those of their spouses. However, Ms. Desatová argued that advising people to do so ignored the reality that many people do not have access to bank accounts, either because they live in remote areas where bank branches are scarce or because they have had problems opening a report in the past.