According to statistics from the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs provided to the Saarbrücker Zeitung, roughly 660,000 people between 65 and 74-years-old had to work low-paid jobs to supplement pensions in 2010, representing 3.9 percent of the population in that age group. That's compared to 2000 when 416,000 had to work – or about 3 percent of retirees.
Pensioners applying for the social security package from the state for low-income seniors also increased – in 2009 some 400,000 applied for it compared to 258,000 in 2003, according to the newspaper.
The government has already announced an increase in the Germany's retirement age from 65 to 67 beginning in 2012, saying the country has no alternative because society is ageing rapidly and people are living longer. Also, recent statistics show pension benefits have been rising below inflation rates, leading to a drop in the real value of payouts by seven percent in the past decades.
“Retirement was yesterday. Drudgery until death is the fate of more and more pensioners today,” said Matthias Birkwald, a Bundestag member from the socialist Left party, which made the original request for the statistics from the government.
The development appears to be the decreasing value of pension benefits as well as an increasing number of people with poor or low-paying work histories – in Germany, old-age pensions are largely driven by how much money workers earned when they were younger.
Birkwald demanded an end to anything that could lead to cut backs in pensions, to move the retirement age back to where it was and to create minimum payouts for the long-term unemployed or people who had low incomes when they worked.
The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs said it was starting a special dialogue next year to discuss how to adjust the government-sponsored pensions to deal with the country's changing realities.