A total of 20,000 pensions being claimed by people who are ineligible - and costing state insurance funds an estimated 120 million euro - have been traced as a result of crosschecking, Labour Minister George Koutroumanis said on Tuesday. Speaking to a private television station in Athens, Koutroumanis also added that “as a result of the inspections conducted, there are many who now conform and declare the deaths of pension recipients instead of unlawfully collecting the money”.

Koutroumanis revealed that by the end of the year IKA, Greece’s largest state insurance fund, will need an additional 800 million euro. Of these, 600 million have been included in the state budget, while the remaining 200 million euro will arise by cutting expenditures.
He underlined that for years, many businesses were not paying contributions to social insurance funds and that notices have been posted for debts of over 1 million euros to be followed soon by notices for debts of over 500,000 euros.
Meanwhile, Deputy Health and Social Solidarity Minister Markos Bolaris stated that recipients of a benefit for the visually impaired will be re-examined to ensure that they are still eligible, after inspections revealed that an excessive percentage of the population were receiving the benefit on the Ionian island of Zakynthos.
The benefit is currently paid to 625 people on the island, corresponding to 2 pct of the prefecture’s entire population. The findings will be forwarded to the responsible prosecutor to investigate possible criminal liability of those involved.
Similar inspections will be conducted in other regions where such phenomena occur, according to a statement issued by the ministry of health.