FUTURE-PROOF: Pension cuts would provide the pension foundation with an additional NT$193 billion and ensure its operations for 30 years, the ministry said
By Jake Chung / Staff writer, with CNA
The Ministry of National Defense yesterday announced draft reforms to the military pension system, which would phase out the 18 percent preferential savings rate within the first year and slash pensions.
The 18 percent savings rate for current personnel and veterans who opted for monthly pension payments would be phased out within the first year, while the original funds would be returned to the pensioner, the ministry said.
The monthly pension program would be recalculated based on the new program, with those receiving higher monthly pay seeing their pensions cut over 10 years until it reaches the new amount, it said.
Veterans who received a lump-sum payment — provided that the amount along with payouts from military insurance do not exceed the minimum of NT$32,160 （US$1,066） — would retain the 18 percent preferential savings rate for their principal capital, the ministry said.
For those with a lump-sum payment that exceeds the minimum stipulated by the new program, preferential savings would drop to 12 percent between July 1 next year and Dec. 31, 2020, after which it would decrease by 2 percentage points every two years until January 2025, it said.
Veterans forced into early retirement by previous programs would be given a pension proportionate to their years served, with the difference between their pension and the new mandated minimum subsidized by the government, the ministry said.
Spouses of deceased veterans would still be entitled to half of their spouse’s monthly pension without an age limit, provided that the spouse remains unmarried and was married to the veteran for more than two years, it said.
Spouses who are wedded to retirees must be 55 years old and have been wedded to the pensioner for 10 years to be eligible to receive half their spouse’s monthly pension upon their death, the ministry said.
The maximum retirement age for senior and junior officers is to be extended by two years, while the age for major generals would be capped at 57 years old, lieutenant generals at 60 and three-star and four-star generals at 64 and 70 respectively, it said.
Time spent on special operations or missions would be included in years of service under the plan.
The draft reforms would increase payout rates to 18 percent while maintaining the current sharing ratio, in which the government absorbs 65 percent of the payout, the ministry said.
Pension calculations would be based on the average monthly payments during a veteran’s last 36 months of service and would guarantee a minimum of NT$32,160, it said, while pensions before the amendment is promulgated would still be calculated by doubling a veteran’s salary at the time of their retirement.
The ministry and the Veterans’ Affairs Council are to hold public hearings for current and retired military personnel to share their opinions, the ministry said, adding that it would forward the opinions to the Executive Yuan.
The phasing out of the 18 percent rate would cut payouts, but also offer an additional NT$193 billion for the pension foundation to ensure its smooth operations for at least 30 years, the ministry said.
At least NT$100 billion would come from the council, which is to budget NT$10 billion every year for the next 10 years to the foundation, it added.
The ministry is to increase the foundation’s transparency and work to minimize political intervention on its operations, the ministry said, adding that it would hold a quinquennial inspection of the foundation after the reforms are enacted.
A police officer argues with pension reform protesters yesterday on Ketagalan Boulevard near the Presidential Office Building in Taipei. Photo: Fang Pin-chao, Taipei Times
Minister Without Portfolio and pension reform committee chief executive Lin Wan-I explains proposed pension reforms for retired military personnel during a news conference yesterday in Taipei. Photo: Wang Yi-sung, Taipei Times