Sustainability factor: Ombudsman calls for review of disability pensions penalized in the assignment or when they became old-age pensions

The Ombudsman, Maria Lúcia Amaral, addressed a suggestion for a legislative amendment to the Minister of Labor Solidarity and Social Security in order to revising the invalidity pensions of the two social protection regimes which were penalized by the sustainability factor on the date of their assignment or when they were convoked in old-age pensions at 65 years of age.

This suggestion comes as a result of several complaints filed by pensioners from the "Caixa Geral de Aposentações" and the National Pension Center whose pensions continue to be burdened with the sustainability factor, unlike what happens with the invalidity pensions of both social protection schemes that from the date of entry into force of article 3 of Decree-Law no. 126-B / 2017, of October 6, are no longer penalized with the application of the sustainability factor when they are convoked in old-age pensions.

The complainants find themselves in a situation of social unprotection which is extremely unfair in view of the unequal way in which the sustainability factor has affected and continues to affect their pensions and the special vulnerability resulting not only from permanent incapacity for work but also from aging already experienced by most of them.

Permanent incapacity for work and the consequent award of an invalidity pension is a contingency which arises not from any voluntary act of the person concerned but from physical or mental illness or disability, which is permanent and recognized by the Institute’s medical expertise Social Security or Caixa Geral de Aposentações.

The Ombudsman therefore considers that, irrespective of the age or social protection scheme, there is an urgent need to adopt a legislative measure eliminating the sustainability factor of all attributed or combined into old-age pensions, prior to the entry into force of Decree-Law no. 126-B / 2017, of October 6.

The suggestion for legislative amendment was sent at the end of February, and is still awaiting response from the minister.