Sun, Apr 11, 2010 - Page 3 News List

Number of people covered by national pension declines

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

The number of people covered by the national pension system had declined to 4.01 million as of the end of last year, 26,000 fewer than when the system was launched in 2008 as part of the national welfare network, government statistics showed.

Vice Minister of the Interior Chien Tai-lang (簡太郎) said yesterday the drop was attributable to the fact that some of the insured opted out and turned instead to labor or farmer insurance schemes.

“People are free to pay into the insurance scheme that is most beneficial to them,” Chien said.

The national pension system was designed for people between the age of 25 and 64 who are not covered by public functionary insurance, labor insurance or any other public insurance schemes.

The insured, who pay 60 percent of the premiums while the government covers the rest, are entitled to receive pensions depending on how long they have been covered when they turn 65.

The national pension system completed the country’s social insurance network after it took effect on Oct. 1, 2008, said Huang Pi-hsia (黃碧霞), director of the Ministry of the Interior’s Department of Social Affairs.

Under the network, people can choose their insurance scheme based on their vocational status. Should they become unemployed, they will be automatically classified as insured under the national pension system, Huang said.

Asked about those who are forced to drop out of the insurance system because they cannot afford to pay the premiums, Huang said the government provides subsidies for those whose “incomes are below standard.”

Data show that the 4.01 million insured, including the unemployed, street vendors, housekeepers, naturalized foreign spouses and students above the age of 25 account for 29.4 percent of the country’s population aged between 25 and 64.

Nearly 1.03 million of the insured received a total of NT$37.7 billion (US$1.2 billion) in payments from the national pension system last year, the ministry said.

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