Share article:
Share article:

Poverty: 1.2 million get by on less than €1,500 a month

© Pxhere

More than 1.2 million people in Belgium are getting by on a pension worth less than €1,500 a month net, according to the latest figures from the federal pensions ministry reported by De Tijd. The figure represents about half of all pensioners.

That’s mainly the consequence of incomplete careers,” pensions expert and former minister Frank Vandenbroucke (sp.a) explained to the paper. “There are still many women who had very short working lives, and so obtained a very small pension. Although the group is thinning out.”

The level of the minimum pension has been a feature of the talks still going on for the creation of a new federal government, with both socialists parties making an increase a requirement for their participation in the new coalition.

According to the figures, the self-employed are the hardest hit, with 66% of them under the barrier of €1,500 net, which comes out to about €1,750 a month gross. Employees under the limit also exceed half, at 57%. On the other hand, government employees at all levels barely show up in the figures, with only 6% under the base limit. The average for this group is in fact €2,713 net, comfortably above the line.

However despite pressure for the minimum statutory pension to be increased to at least about €1,500 net, it remains far from clear that that target could be reached in practice. “That depends entirely on the choices made by the parties,” Vandenbroucke said. However he warned that even if that target is achieved, many people will in practice remain below it.

The reason is that the minimum by law is intended for those whose working life lasted 45 years. Someone who working life was incomplete, lasting for example 42 years, will received 42/45 of the minimum pension, equivalent to €1,400 a month.

As far as women are concerned, they are concerned not only by the minimum pension but also the minimum number of years working. It remains to be seen, Vandenbroucke said, whether one or the other, or both, will come in for adjustment by the new government.

In all there are six different rules in operation: separate regimes for employees, the self-employed and functionaries, rules for mixed careers and the minimum years rule. I have argued for the system to be simplified.”

Alan Hope
The Brussels Times

Latest news

Experts call for more widespread use of masks as figures rise
As coronavirus figures continue to rise, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo has suggested that people return to wearing masks when indoors with ...
Belgium wants to recover €420 million in wrongfully paid out coronavirus aid
The Belgian State intends to recover €420 million of unduly paid Covid-19 aid, La Libre Belgique reported on Thursday. The electronic Council of ...
Why the fight for transgender rights is polarising Europe 
Year after year, Samuel De Schepper would ask Santa Claus to bring him a penis for Christmas. Born female and attending an all girl’s Catholic ...
New offshore wind farm officially opened
Despite being operational since the end of 2020, the SeaMade offshore wind farm was officially inaugurated on Wednesday by Prime Minister Alexander ...
Contact tracers have no time for calls, only texts, amid rising cases
Contract tracers will no longer make phone calls to the high-risk contacts of people who test positive for the coronavirus beginning from Wednesday, ...
Belgium holds on to top spot in FIFA rankings despite recent losses
Once again, Belgium's Red Devils have held onto their position at the top of the world football rankings, according to an update released by the ...
Proximus pushes for high-speed internet in Brussels and Wallonia
Fifteen municipalities in Wallonia should soon have access to high-speed internet through the rollout of fibre optics in the region, telecoms giant ...
Why Belgium is regulating sex work
After decades of confusing rules and hypocritical policy, Belgium is finally regulating sex work by removing prostitution from the criminal law. ...
World’s largest chocolate warehouse opens in Flanders
On Thursday, Barry Callebaut – the largest global chocolate processor and manufacturer – opened the world's largest chocolate warehouse in Lokeren, ...
Belgium in Brief: Equal Opportunity To Dance
There's a phrase where I'm from, more often said in jest nowadays, but it came to my mind this morning: "Ye dancin'?" (Are you dancing?), one ...
Farmer discovers cocaine in banana boxes bought in Brussels
A Flemish farmer who purchased boxes of bananas at the market in Brussels on Tuesday came home to discover large amounts of cocaine packed among the ...
Changes to speed cameras increase likelihood of a ticket
Changes to the way speed cameras work in Flanders and Wallonia will increase the likelihood of receiving a ticket when cars pass them above the ...