Pensions too low, hundreds of thousands of retired workers struggle
About 400,000 people who retired before 1993 are paid pensions that are far below the regional minimum wage. Most of them struggle with their lives, especially if they are very old and have many diseases.
Ms. Tran Thi Bien, a resident in Viet Tien village, Vu Vinh commune, Vu Thu district, Thai Binh province, who retired before 1993, now has a monthly pension of VND2.2 million (around $100). This pension is too low compared to minimum living costs.
According to Bien, she spends VND1 million for food/month and the remaining amount she paid for medicines. The old woman is very weak, so she could not plant vegetables or raise chickens to earn extra income to partly cover her food expenses.
“My pension is really low, not enough to pay for myself when I get old. Whenever I’m sick and have to go to hospital, my children have to cover these for me. I am worried when I don't have any savings, especially when my health is going down. Like many others in the same situation, I want my pension to be higher to ensure my life in my old age,” Bien said.
Ho Chi Minh City’s National Assembly delegate Tran Hoang Ngan said that the National Assembly had proposed to the Government and issued a Resolution to increase pensions for retirees before 1993. The National Assembly Standing Committee has asked the Government to make a review report on this issue to submit to the National Assembly for consideration.
Ngan said the National Assembly wanted to give immediate support to these subjects but it has to wait for the Government’s detailed report on this issue.
The retirement age will then be increased by 3 months each year for men until it reaches 62 years in 2028 while the threshold for women will be extended by 4 months each year until it reaches 60 years in 2035.
Workers can retire early but it must be five years or less earlier than the normal retirement age if they do arduous work in hazardous conditions and have a career of at least 15 years.
Early retirement is also eligible for those working for 15 years or more in regions with particularly difficult socio-economic conditions and those with reduced working capacity of 61% or more.
Workers can retire at a higher age than the normal retirement age when they have an agreement with their employers to continue working.
Vietnam currently has 3.2 million people on retirement pension and social security benefits.
Changes to the retirement age were approved by the National Assembly in March this year as Vietnam has begun to enter the population ageing period and the country is facing growing pressure on its social security fund.
Dinh Thi Thu Hien, vice chairwoman of the Social Welfare Policy Committee, under the Ministry of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs, talks to Nhân Dân (People) newspaper on the need to revise the policy on lump-sum pension payments.