Government promises action to speed up processing of pensions claims

By TPN/Lusa, in News · 15-05-2019 14:00:00 · 0 Comments
Government promises action to speed up processing of pensions claims

Portugal’s government is preparing legislative measures to speed up the analysis and processing of retirement requests, the office of the secretary of state for social security said in a reply sent to the Ombudsman for the service.

"In order to reduce the number of disputes, additional steps are being taken, namely legislative measures to simplify the processes, making the analysis and processing of the applications more rapid," states the reply to requests for information sent to the Ministry of Employment and Social Security in June and December 2018 by the Ombudsman, Maria Lúcia Amaral, following complaints from applicants about delays in responding to their submissions.

In a note posted on the website of the Ombudsman’s office, acknowledging the reply from the ministry, it is stated that between January and April this year the office had received 674 complaints of delays in the assignment of pensions. Last year 923 complaints on the subject reached it, or four times as many as in 2017.

Of the total, 45% reported delays exceeding one year in responding to applications.

In her two formal requests to the ministry last year, the Ombudsman underscores what she describes as the "worrying situation" experienced by many people "who are waiting for many months and, in many cases, more than one year" to receive various benefits - namely old-age and disability pensions, as well as widows’ pensions and other death benefits - and calls for action to be taken to improve the situation.

In the reply now sent, the office of the secretary of state states that these concerns are shared by the government and social security officials. It details some of the measures that it says have been taken, notably in terms of beefing up staff numbers and training in the department dealing with the submissions.

As reasons for the faltering performance, it cites a major decline in staff numbers under the previous government, but also a sharply increased number of pension requests.


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