1 of 10 pensioners near EU poverty line

Maili Backlund: You can't do nothing
2:15 min

More retirees are having to scrape by on too little money, according to the Swedish Pensions Agency.

In a report handed over to the government Tuesday the Swedish Pensions Agency said the number of pensioners who are strapped for cash will increase without reforms to the housing allowance and taxation.

"If the government and Parliament leave all the rules as they are now, the number of people living below the ´low economic standard' will increase," said Ole Settergren, a top analyst at the Pensions Agency, speaking with Swedish Television News.

The threshold monthly income for a "low economic standard" in Sweden is SEK 11,800 (just over USD 1,400 or GBP 1,000). By comparison an income of SEK 11,000 per month per person is the official poverty line in the EU.

Around 12 percent of seniors in Sweden live in a household with an income under the "low economic standard" amount. Most of these people are women.

Stockholm resident Maili Backlund, 83, lives on a pension of SEK 8,400 per month. She also receives a housing allowance, but after paying a rent of over SEK 6,500, there isn't much left for other costs.

"It's happened that I've borrowed money from my children in order to go to the doctor or dentist. But I'm the one who's supposed to be helping my children. They aren't supposed to help me. A lot of times I try not to tell them how hard it is for me," said Backlund to SVT.

Backlund told Radio Sweden that, all told, she has about SEK 5,500 per month after she pays the rent.

"When everything is paid, all the bills, I always have two or three bills I can't pay because I don't have the money," she told Radio Sweden.


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