senior citizens

The fight against poverty in old age

When the pension is not enough to live on


185,800 Swiss seniors receive supplementary benefits.

Your AHV pension and the payments from the pension fund are not sufficient to cover the minimum living costs. According to projections by Pro Senectute, this number is steadily increasing:

Every year there are 5,000 additional retirees whose pensions are not sufficient to secure their livelihoods.

The gap between rich and poor widened at retirement age, because problems associated with low incomes became more accentuated: «Anyone who has been wealthy and had a good income during their working life also has a comfortable standard of living as a pensioner. On the other hand, if you always had a low wage, you certainly have no chance at retirement age to adequately compensate for the lack of income. " But while the cliché of the rich pensioner is more present in public, poor seniors often live largely unnoticed - out of shame. Fritz and Klara Huber (names known to the editors) are two of these pensioners who live on the subsistence level. The now 72-year-old Fritz Huber had worked as an unskilled worker in construction before retiring. His income in the low-wage sector had to be enough for the whole family; he has four children with his wife Klara. Renunciation was part of everyday life - the Hubers lived in modest circumstances. But taxes, health insurance premiums and debts put more and more strain on the family budget over the years, and finances got out of control.

After retiring, Fritz Huber had his pension fund assets paid out. The couple managed to get by for a while, until the assets they had saved were used up. After that, the Hubers lived on the AHV pension for a while. They had never put on a third pillar. But then Klara Huber had a serious accident last year. In the hospital it happened that she had not paid the health insurance premiums on a regular basis because of the financial bottlenecks.

Some cantons keep black lists of defaulting payers - including Ms. Huber's canton of residence.

Medical services are kept to a minimum for those affected. After the accident, the 69-year-old only received emergency treatment. The debts remain.

At the same time, because of the hospital stay, it turned out that the Hubers had been entitled to supplementary benefits for years. With their AHV pension, the two lived below the subsistence level. It was now calculated how much the couple needed to reach this threshold. In addition, 1,000 francs were estimated for rent, 668 francs for health insurance and 2,400 francs for basic necessities including taxes. But instead of over 4,000 francs, the Hubers had only 3,400 francs a month at their disposal with the AHV pension. You will now receive the difference as supplementary benefits. Since then, the monthly transfer of health insurance premiums has been secured. But the outstanding debts in recent years remain open.

With their budget at subsistence level, the Hubers will never be able to settle these debts. As a result, they are still only entitled to emergency medical treatment.

For Klara Huber, who has been paralyzed on one side since the accident, this means recovery under difficult conditions.
While most respond to this problem with a shrug, PnCG actively supports projects to combat poverty in old age.

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