What happens when you raise retirement ages and benefit ages for government programs that people have planned their retirements around for decades? Real people get caught in real gaps, and real consequences result.
As Italy’s economy continues to stagger, suicide rates have increased in recent years, according to the state news agency.
The nation is in its longest recession in 20 years. Its economy — Europe’s third-largest, saddled with a government debt the Treasury Ministry puts at $2.6 trillion — shrank by 0.9% in the fourth quarter of 2012, Eurobarometer says.
Efforts to corral Italy’s government debt through cutbacks have taken a toll. Dionisi, for instance, was among the thousands of esodati — or “exiled ones” — who’d been left without a pension after the Italian government raised the retirement age 16 months ago.
“When Romeo lost his job (in a building firm) he had only one or two more years of private contribution to pay before he could receive the pension,” Costamagna said.
“With the pension system reform, he suddenly had five more years of contribution to pay and he lost his serenity. Moreover, according to the new rules it’s very difficult to pay your contributions if you don’t have a proper work and with the crisis, no one can afford to hire a worker with a proper contract.
“It’s a kind of pincer in which Romeo got trapped.”