Implementing a new pension processing system in the Czech Republic is expected to take several years due to the outdated nature of the current system. Thousands of individuals who applied for old-age pensions over three months ago are still awaiting payment.
These individuals are also indebted to health insurance companies, as the state has not provided the necessary information to confirm their pension status. The outdated system for pension processing has been in use for four decades, with only a small group of social security employees proficient in its operation.
František Boháček, the head of the Czech Social Security Administration, acknowledged this issue before members of parliament, stating that the pension processing system is 40 years old and only a miracle keeps it running. The introduction of a new system has been unsuccessful since 2014, with previous attempts being halted for various reasons.
The current plan is for the Czech Social Security Administration to develop the new system and secure funding from the National Recovery Plan. According to Boháček, the project will take 10 years and be divided into gradual steps. However, experts estimate that implementing the new system will take at least five years due to its complexity. The system contains vast data and a complicated algorithm that changes with each legislative modification.
The delay in pension payments and the resulting financial difficulties faced by pensioners have been criticized as unethical and unfair. Suggestions have been made to temporarily provide estimated pension amounts to alleviate the financial burden while the final pension calculations are being processed. The issue of health insurance debt for new retirees also persists, as insurers cannot determine pension status without notification from the state.
Minister of Labor and Social Affairs Marian Jurečka and Prime Minister Petr Fiala have apologized for the delays in pension payments. They acknowledge the limited waiting times and express their commitment to addressing the issue. The dramatic increase in applications for early retirement in recent months has further strained the pension system.
Minister for Regional Development and Deputy Prime Minister for Digitization Ivan Bartoš explained that even with the implementation of digitalization, it would take time to define, test, and roll out the new system. The Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs has been actively working on digitalization under the leadership of Karel Trpkoš, who has been instrumental in the ministry’s progress in this area.