Tue, Aug 14, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Control Yuan raises alarm over military pension fund

By Lee Hsin-fang and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

The Control Yuan has expressed its concern over the expanding imbalance in the military pension fund, with expenditures overrunning income by 17 percent in the first half of the year.

The military pension fund first showed signs that it was spending more than it earned last year, with expenditures rising 7 percent above the maximum of 100 percent.

In comparison, expenditures only took up 75 percent of the income of the teachers’ pension fund and 61 percent of the civil servants’ pension fund.

Statistics shows that while the average retirement age for educators is 53 and for civil servants is 55, it is relatively low for military personnel at about 43 years old.

However, if the number of military personnel who apply for a one-off pension is factored in, the average age at which military personnel are able to draw from the fund would drop to 29.9.

Control Yuan member Yang Mei-ling (楊美鈴) said during a meeting over the weekend that many judge advocates and military medical officers enjoy the privilege of being funded by the state, but they immediately file for retirement once they have met the minimum service time.

They have a double income from drawing on their pension and setting up their own businesses, Yang said, questioning the rationality of having a system that offers different pension fund terms for military personnel, educators and civil servants.

If it is irrational, then the system could be amended, Yang said. Her opinion was seconded by fellow Control Yuan member Cheng Jen-hung (程仁宏), who said that if the problem is not solved, the Control Yuan would not rule out initiating an investigation into the matter.

Minister of Civil Service Chang Che-chen (張哲琛) said it had reminded the Ministry of National Defense and the Executive Yuan two years ago about the issue regarding the military pension fund.

The defense ministry had made a proposal, which was ratified by the Executive Yuan, on superannuation, the levying of taxes on military personnel income and turning part of the tax gains into the pension fund, to ameliorate the situation.

The Executive Yuan had also drafted an amendment to parts of the Act of Military Service for Officers and Noncommissioned Officers of the Armed Forces (陸海空軍軍官士官服役條例), raising pension rates from between 8 percent and 12 percent at present to between 12 percent and 18 percent, but the draft has yet to be ratified by the legislature.

The Ministry of Civil Service said that aside from these short-term measures, the defense ministry should consider reviewing the retirement system for military personnel — whose standards are looser compared with that for educators or civil servants — to ensure its long-term sustainability.

The Examination Yuan has also waded into the matter, with Examination Yuan member Tsai Liang-wen (蔡良文) saying that the issue must be resolved.

With the military downsizing and looking to implement voluntary military service by next year, the problem with funding will only get worse, Tsai said.

The relationship between the military and the state is different from that of teachers and civil servants, and as such, there should be a different system for handling military pensions, Tsai said, adding that the military pension system should revert back to superannuation.

Examination Yuan President John Kuan (關中) said in March that military personnel should be taken entirely out of the Public Service Pension System.

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