Number of pension claimants drops: CLA
By Ann Yu, The China PostTAIPEI, Taiwan -- According to the Council of Labor Affairs (CLA), the number of lump-sum retirement fund applications was lower in February, following an active period of applications at the end of 2012 and in January of this year.
March 17, 2013, 12:31 am TWN
In a statement released by the CLA yesterday, the number of applicants looking to receive their retirement funds in a lump-sum in February decreased to just 8,000 applicants, receiving an estimated NT$10.8 million.
The Bureau of Labor Insurance (BLI) stated that most people apply for retirement in January or July as that is when most state-owned enterprises, schools or government posts allow employees to retire.
Another reason, they said, is that most workers who are insured through worker unions tend to drop out of the labor insurance program around January as that is when they are required to re-apply for membership and make a payment to premium rates.
The BLI noted that 29,000 claimants made applications in January, receiving an estimated NT$38.2 billion.
According to the BLI, an average 7,000 applicants per month claim their lump-sum benefits — roughly amounting to NT$8 billion in funds.
After it was unveiled that the funds may go bankrupt in 2027, claimants rushed to the BLI for their retirement funds. In October there were 15,000 claimants and November saw 35,000.
The BLI said NT$47.6 billion was claimed from the funds in November — a record high.
BLI officials said the government is set on supplementing NT$20 billion each year to the funds to sustain their function. They asked that people have confidence in the funds and think carefully before selecting lump-sum benefits.
The labor retirement program has allowed the insured two kinds of payments when claiming their retirement — a one-time lump-sum payment or monthly payments.
There were calls for reforming the labor pension annuity program after it was revealed last October that the funds may go bankrupt in the next two decades.
The Cabinet has since drafted plans to maintain the funds' viability, with premium rates to be increased and retirement benefits decreased. Nationwide consultation continues on the matter, according to the Cabinet.