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Economy

Modern Greece Getting Ancient, Pension Applications Piling Up

ATHENS – Rushing to to retire to take advantage of a loophole, some 200,000 Greek civil servants are expected to file applications for pensions by the end of 2021, a 20 percent jump over the previous year.

Officials at the Labor Ministry are anxious about the numbers of early retirements, said Kathimerini, a wave of applications expected as people rush to qualify for leaving work before 67, or even 62 without the required 42 years of work, said Kathimerini.

That's under a provision passed by the former ruling Radical Left SYRIZA that opened the door even more lenient retirement laws, with worries that as many as 220,000 applications will be filed.

Greece's population is aging faster than births can refill the ranks of people who pay for retirees and put a growing strain on the social security system whacked by the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns that saw businesses temporarily closed and not contributing to the funding for it.

It can take up to two years or more before a retiree will start being paid and in the meantime they are barred by law from working, leaving those without savings or a home of their own with the problem of fending for themselves.

Curiously, there's also been a rise in the number of professionals who want to stop working as it's almost as profitable to take benefits as working in many cases, creating an incentive to retire as soon as possible.

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