Ouch! Social Security pockets €1.29 billion from foreign taxpayers during pandemic

More than 138,000 unemployed without any State support

Delays in processing pensions leave 5,000 without benefit of last year’s bonus

The plain sight drama within Portugal’s Social Security system sees more than 138,000 people without jobs or any apparent means of support simply left hanging – while the snail’s pace of bureaucracy has left around 5,000 pensioners who put in retirement papers at the end of last summer excluded from the government’s October bonus.

The news relayed by Dinheiro Vivo online “has not been denied by the Ministry of Labour”, says tabloid Correio da Manhã – but it highlights the difficulties experienced by so many citizens under a government that used to pride itself on ensuring that “no one is left behind”.

The reality is that hundreds of thousands are left behind, all the time.

According to statistics released by the Ministry of Labour’s office of planning and strategy, 183,938 people received unemployment benefit in January. Job centres however have 322,086 people on their books.

In other words, 43% of Portugal’s unemployed “did not have access to any kind of State support” in January (and of course, the true situation of employment was not fully apparent).

Cross-referencing all the data released by public entities (including IEFP, the institute for employment and professional training), Correio da Manhã warns that the impression that unemployment is increasing “is sustained.

“Compared to the end of July 2022, the total number of people (inscribed with IEFP) by the end of January this year increased by 44,620 – an increase of 16%”.

As to the unlucky pensioners, these will have put in all the correct paperwork to start receiving their pensions in September and October, but for reason unclear (and hugely beneficial for the government), they only began receiving monthly instalments in November – thus missing the ‘extraordinary double payment’ the government came up with in October to avoid paying pensioners increases that the law stipulated for 2023, but which the government decided were unaffordable.

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