Pensioner Stipend Picture Looked Dire in 2012

Nearly half of retired people in Israel received less than NIS 5k a month last year, with one in eight getting less than NIS 2k.

Nearly half of pensioners in Israel received less than NIS 5,000 a month last year – only slightly more than minimum wage, according to Central Bureau of Statistics data. One in eight pensioners receives less than NIS 2,000 a month, while only 7% get more than NIS 10,000 a month.

The figures cover people aged 60 and up who are not working and consider themselves retired – some 563,600 people in total. Some 52% have no pension whatsoever. The other 48% do, whether it be a provident fund, pension fund, manager’s insurance or another form of pension arrangement.

These figures give weight to the recent National Insurance Institute report that 23% of elderly people in Israel are in need of supplemental income.

Pension payments are often pensioners’ only form of income. Yet many people are not receiving enough in order to meet their expenses.

CBS statistics found that in 2011, a person living alone needed an average of NIS 7,783 a month to maintain a household. Households of two people and up need at least NIS 12,000, found the statistics bureau. This indicates that less than 30% of people living off of their pensions can make ends meet in Israel.

Yet people with pensions are much better off than people living off state old-age stipends, which are NIS 1,450 a month, and guaranteed income supplements, which are given to people whose income is less than NIS 1,100 a month. However, the latter are exempt from some taxes, including municipal tax.

Not everyone in the workforce is properly preparing for retirement, according to CBS data published Tuesday. Some 82% of employed people above age 20 have pension funds as of 2012. The figure is 84% for women and 80% for men. However, only 58% of the self-employed have pension funds, versus 86% of salaried employees.

Nir Kafri