'Dead' Greek pensioners still claiming

Greek clownThe 'rels' may have been dead for decades, but some Greek families are still claiming the pensions of their dead relatives. It's thought 120,000 'ghost' pensions are still in existence in the troubled Greek state. Worse, the authorities say it's difficult to check the validity of claims because they have no computer program able to confirm the true age of some drawing funds. Could house-to-house calls be the answer?

Hit film?

Knock-knock: "Excuse me for asking, Georgios Lambrinoudis, but are you really 130? We have to ask because, according to our paperwork, you've been claiming a state pension for almost, er, 70 years." Or something along the lines of.

The Greek main state fund IKA has already uncovered around 110,000 claims - and these claims really rack up over the years. Many pensions are worth £1,000 per month.

It's thought the Greek authorities are attempting to deal with the crisis by asking those names under suspicion to confirm with the authorities that they are still alive. Which surely must encourage a host of joke 'phone calls and letters. (There should be a hit film made out of this.)

Ghosts in the machine

No wonder many Germans are hopping mad about bailing out their Southern neighbour. Meanwhile the Germans, the EU and the British taxpayer (the British taxpayer has contributed £1bn so far) continue to prop up the Greek government.

The Greek central government deficit continues to widen, despite the current austerity measures that have incited nationwide general strikes. The deficit now stands at €19.2bn for January to September, a 15% hike for the same period last year.
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