Some 13.000 workers want to buy back study years for more pension

By 1 December last, 13.207 employees and public servants had applied to buy back study years in exchange for higher pensions upon retirement, according to figures from the minister in charge of pensions, Daniel Bacquelaine (Reformist Movement, MR). Since December 2017, people wishing to benefit from higher pensions in future can buy back their study years at a preferential rate. The years bought are then taken into account when the pension amount is calculated. Public servants can already calculate on the amount they will receive upon retirement, with or without the buy-back. Other employees will also be able to do so a few weeks later.

One year after the measure was introduced, 7,418 public servants and 5,789 other employees had submitted buy-back requests. “This measure is an undeniable success,” said Bacquelaine. “The number of study-year purchases increases every month.” The minister expects the number to keep increasing until the current transition period ends on 30 November 2020.

The measure has not yet raked in the expected income for the State treasury. In September last, the Government was still counting on 25 million euros in contributions for 2018, but in early December the actual amount paid by would-be beneficiaries of the measure was around 7.2 million euros. Many people had made applications but only 15.7% of them had already paid, a spokesperson for Minister Bacquelaine said, noting that more money was expected to come in.

However, “it’s not a budgetary matter for us,” the spokesman explained. “It’s about increasing pensions and ensuring that people can study longer without hindrance.”

The Brussels Times

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