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‘Monthly pensions of 135 SSC subscribers amount to almost JD1m’

By Dana Al Emam - Feb 12,2015 - Last updated at Feb 12,2015

AMMAN — The monthly bill of retirement pensions for 135 subscribers at the Social Security Corporation (SSC) is nearly JD1 million, a phenomenon that the corporation’s new law controls for new subscribers, an official said Thursday.

“The corporation’s total bill of monthly retirement pensions in December reached JD55.5 million, covering some 166,000 subscribers,” SSC Media Director Musa Sbeihi told The Jordan Times.

The average pension of the 135 subscribers is around JD7,000, as some of them receive more than JD13,000 per month, according to Sbeihi. 

“Most of the retirees with the highest pensions have worked as heads of private banks, financial institutions and insurance companies, and 69 of the 135 receive early retirement pensions,” he said, adding that they are all Jordanians.

“The new Social Security Law has dealt with the issue of very high retirement pensions, capping salaries eligible for social security deductions at JD3,000, even if the subscriber’s salary is higher than that.”

Under the previous 2010 temporary law, salaries up to JD5,000 were eligible for social security deductions, but the older law did not set a ceiling, Sbeihi said, noting that the new law cannot take retroactive effect, as the previous law guaranteed the current “high” pensions based on monthly salary deductions.

He said the current ceiling is “dynamically” connected to inflation rates and has reached JD3,084 as the inflation rate in 2014 was 2.8 per cent, describing the increase as “natural and logical”.

“The monthly salaries of over 99 per cent of the corporation’s current 1.95 million active subscribers are below JD3,000,” the SSC spokesperson said in a phone interview, and the average monthly salary of current subscribers is around JD481.

Sbeihi cited early retirement as a major problem, which results in the corporation’s “early loss of monthly subscriptions as well as a commitment to paying new pensions for longer periods than those paid in case of old age retirement”.

“There is increasing interest in early retirement among SSC subscribers despite its negative effects on the corporation and workers’ productivity; early retirees constitute some 44 per cent of the total number of 166,000 pensioners.”

He called on institutions to offer “more stable and women-friendly work environments” to encourage employees to remain in the workforce until they reach retirement age, highlighting the role of labour laws in stabilising work environments for Jordanians.

The total number of early and old age retirement beneficiaries is increasing, Sbeihi noted.

In 2014, some 12,000 subscribers started receiving old age and early retirement pensions, a figure that is the “highest” in the corporation’s history, as the average number of new retirees is between 6,000 to 8,000 subscribers, he said.

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