The number of military personnel, public-school teachers and civil servants applying for retirement decreased significantly this year following a peak in 2015, due to the pension cuts that took effect yesterday, a Ministry of Civil Service official said.
A total of 81,900 people applied for retirement in 2015, a five-year high, including 21,000 military personnel, 28,000 teachers and 31,000 civil servants, the official said.
Last year, the number of new retirees decreased by several thousand in each of the three sectors, the official said.
From January to April this year, there were only 17,666 new retirees, the official said, adding that the number was expected to further decrease following the implementation of the new pension system.
Pensioners can choose whether to receive their pensions in a single lump sum or in monthly payments, and even those who have been fired can receive 65 percent of the pension they would have earned if they retired, as long as they have not been convicted of a crime, the official said.
Statistics over the past decade show the average retirement age for teachers was between 53 and 54, while for civil servants it was between 55 and 56, and military personnel between 30 and 35.
Under the new system, teachers and civil servants will have to delay their retirement, starting from this year and going through to 2030, with the average age for retirement gradually being raised to 60. By 2031, the majority would have to reach 65 to retire.
There are more than 600,000 retirees affected by the pension reforms, with 350,000 of them being civil servants, Department of Retirement and Survivor Relief director Lu Ming-tai (呂明泰) said.
The main reason that the number of people applying for retirement significantly dropped last year was probably because many believed that they would receive lower pensions under the new system, another ministry official said.
In 2016, 9,584 civil servants applied to receive the lump sum pension payment, the official said.
Last year, following the passage of the pension reform, the number of civil servants applying for lump sum payments dropped by nearly 3,000 less from the year before to 6,915, the official said.
Since the drop was probably caused by the pension reforms, the number is likely to remain low in the future, the official added.
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