Pension anomaly punishes housewives’ families

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Pension anomaly punishes housewives’ families

A woman surnamed Jung paid into her national pension system for nine years while working as a restaurant server. Then she quit and became a housewife to her working husband. In 2011, at the age of 56, she died of a chronic disease.

After her death, Jung’s husband only received the amount his deceased wife paid into the system years before, with a little interest on top of it, amounting to 7.1 million won ($6,269). That’s much less than the monthly pension benefits Jung’s family would have received - had she not quit her salaried job to work at home.

According to the Ministry of Welfare, there were 25,485 cases similar to Jung’s in a four-year period that ended a year ago, in which deceased housewives could not bequeath pensions to their families after their deaths.

For over 580,000 living housewives who paid into the system for more than 10 years while working, only a disability pension is available if they become disabled.

But families of unmarried people who lost their jobs and stopped paying into the system are eligible for pension benefits because they are not dependent on working spouses. A 30-year-old unmarried woman surnamed Park paid into the system a single payment of 100,000 won ($88)while at her job. After Park died, her family now receives 200,000 won every month.

The committee on revising the national pension system under the Welfare Ministry agreed in late June to get rid of the discriminatory policy concerning full-time housewives.

“We have reached a consensus to fix the current pension program,” a committee member told the JoongAng Ilbo.

The Welfare Ministry said it will submit a bill to revise the law regarding the pension system early next year.


BY SHIN SUNG-SIK [jkkang2@joongang.co.kr]

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