Workers take 2.8 years longer to retire after retirement


INSS (National Social Security Institute) insured persons are taking, on average, 2.8 years longer to be able to retire after the approval of the Social Security reform. The surcharge is higher for men (3.5 years) and lower for women (2 years).

The data were portrayed in a study by the then Ministry of Labor and Social Security under the management of Jair Bolsonaro (PL).

The work compared data from 2021, the most recent available, with the situation observed in 2019, the last year of validity of the old rules. The reference used is the insured’s age on the benefit start date.

The technicians’ objective was to estimate the first effects of the reform on the average retirement age, a variable considered a key element for greater sustainability of the RGPS (General Social Security Regime).

The higher this age, the longer the worker contributes to his retirement, generating income for the INSS. Consequently, he spends less time receiving the benefit, which reduces future government spending.

According to the results, the average retirement age for men increased from 58.7 to 62.2 years between 2019 and 2021. Among women, the level increased from 57.3 to 59.3 years.

The increase in age groups is related to one of the key changes in the Social Security reform: setting minimum retirement ages at 65 for men and 62 for women.

The change came into effect for new workers, but those who were already in the job market need to follow one of four different transition rules. All of them impose some kind of toll, although the insured can choose the one that is most favorable to him.

In practice, this meant that workers close to retirement had to postpone their plans and contribute a little more to get the benefit.

“Among the factors that explain the greater impact for men is the fact that retirements based on contribution time and special, which are among the most affected, are predominantly granted to men”, says the study.

Retirement based on contribution time allowed access to the benefit regardless of age, as long as 30 years of INSS payments were completed by women and 35 years by men.

Policyholders in this group had, in general, more time in the formal job market, higher remuneration and paid higher contributions to the INSS. As a result, they were able to obtain higher retirement benefits.

Workers with lower incomes and those with more difficulty accessing formal employment ended up retiring under the age rule that already existed, but which was not mandatory. They contributed for a minimum of 15 years and needed to reach age 60 (women) and 65 (men).

For this reason, according to supporters of the minimum age, a measure was needed to ensure greater equity in the system, establishing a mandatory age limit.

Special pensions, in turn, are granted to workers exposed to harmful health conditions or subjected to risks to their physical integrity. Among the professionals entitled to this category are miners who work underground.

The rules for those insured also became tougher with the reform. In addition to the minimum contribution times, between 15 and 25 years depending on the degree of risk of the profession, it is also necessary to reach the ages of 55 to 60 years. The transition combines these two factors into a sum of points, which must reach a minimum level for granting the benefit.

As a result of these modifications, the average age of retirement based on contribution time for men rose by 1.4 years, from 56.5 to 57.9 years between 2019 and 2021. In the same period, the average age of special retirement for men rose 2.5 years, from 49.9 to 52.4 years.

Both results are below the overall average for men because there was also a change in the composition of benefits. Special pensions, which record lower ages, lost weight in concessions, contributing to a higher global average.

In the case of women, the rise was 1.4 years in retirements based on contribution time (from 53.44 to 53.85 years) and 2.2 for special categories (50 to 52.2 years).

In the opinion of specialist Otavio Sidone, who holds a master’s degree in economics from USP (University of São Paulo) and who worked as a technician at the then Social Security Secretariat, the increase in the minimum age for retirement is “absolutely fundamental”. According to him, the measure helps in the fiscal sustainability of the regime and in promoting greater equity among beneficiaries.

“Because it is the largest public policy for transferring income in the country, Social Security is a fundamental instrument of the State for income redistribution, along with the need for a progressive tax system”, he says. Social security benefits are the biggest expense in the Budget and totaled R$809.5 billion last year.

The IBDP (Brazilian Institute of Social Security Law) criticizes the reform and considers that part of the changes resulted in excessively harsh rules.

“The worker who accesses the special retirement only works for up to 25 years, really. But the transition rules made it practically impossible for the person to retire”, says IBDP director Paulo Bacelar.

According to him, some professionals who would be entitled to special conditions are opting for the general rules to be able to apply for the benefit. Institute members suggested changes to the new government.

In an interview with Sheet, in December, the then future Minister of Social Security, Carlos Lupi (PDT), criticized the reform and said that he would form a group to evaluate possible changes. He repeated the statements on January 3, shortly after taking office, but was disallowed a day later by the Planalto Palace.

Average retirement ages are expected to rise further due to the less attractiveness of some of the transitional rules provided for in the constitutional amendment.

One of them focuses on workers who were no more than two years away from fulfilling the requirements for a contribution-time pension when the reform was enacted. They can apply for the benefit by complying with a toll of 50% of the remaining time, but the amount paid by the INSS will still be calculated according to the social security factor — a formula that in most cases acts as a reduction of the benefit.

According to reports, this rule was used repeatedly in the first three years of the reform, accounting for more than half of the requests. From now on, however, its use will be more and more difficult.

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