Opinion: Old age pensions

POSTED: 08/3/14 10:08 PM

Everyone working in SXM pays AOV to the SZV. This fund is a solidarity fund. The working class pays for those who are on pension. The pension amount is set at 1,000 guilders. The basis for receiving this pension is the number of years a person is registered on Sint Maarten. The age for the monitoring of residency is age 15 up to 60 years. This means that being a resident for 45 years will entitle one to the 1,000 guilders. For each year that one misses of the 45 years there is a penalty of 2.2%.

We know that people are living longer, so the number of pensioners in our system is on the increase. The way we mitigate this effect is by increasing the pension age that should soon be 62 for everyone. The result here though is that now it will take 47 years to collect the full 1000 guilders as pension instead of 45.

Every time a ministry makes a decision it affects various areas. One such decision is the temporary and permanent residency. Persons with this status are not allowed to vote in our system, but the impact of the decision of granting permanent permits is and will be felt through our community.

In my view the average age is about 30 years; this means that those persons will not collect about 30% of the 1,000 guilders. It is simply impossible for one to live on SXM collecting 700 guilders a month, especially taken into account that a majority does not own their own home. If this number continues to increase and our method for pension distribution does not change, I am sadly saying that our country is heading for serious poverty. To move from collecting a salary of 2,000 guilders to a mere 700 guilders is something that impacts a human being in a large way.

For me it is not about granting seniors relief in a few areas. It is about coming up with ideas that will bring us to a sustainable and equitable pension. The solidarity principle is a good thing, but it is pressing that we stop taking care of the symptoms and address the cause of the problem.

To continue to increase the old age pension is not the solution.

The solution I propose is to implement rules that will ensure all workers have a secondary pension and that this pension can be transferred form one pension fund to another if you change employment.

Also the distribution of pension should not be based on residency, but on equal distribution once you reside here or work here.

Respectfully,

Ready to serve, Willing to listen, Able to accomplish

Iris D. Arrindell

Candidate No. 19 UP Party (Green Party)

 

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