New figures show that last year half of German pensioners received a state pension of less than €700 - the accepted basic subsistence level for the elderly - forcing hundreds of thousands of them into part-time work, said Bild tabloid on Tuesday.
Most likely to receive the smallest state pension were elderly women in western Germany, of whom around 73 percent were expected to survive off less than €700 a month.
Of those retiring early in 2012 due to illness just over 52 percent of men in western Germany and 69 percent of men in the east were scraping by under the subsistence level, said the paper.
And financial hardship caused by tiny state pensions are forcing a growing number of pensioners to work well into their 70's, said Bild.
Over 812,000 people aged 65 and over were working part-time jobs in autumn 2012, according to Federal Employment Agency statistics cited by the regional Freie Presse newspaper on Tuesday. More than 128,000 of these part-time workers were aged 74 and above.
The figures show a jump of 34 percent in the number of working pensioners over the last ten years, compared with just 595,433 part-timers over 65 in 2003, with 77,081 of them older than 74.
Left party MP Sabine Zimmermann, who pushed for the release of the statistics on working pensioners, has argued they prove a growing problem of old-age poverty in Germany.
“The vast majority of elderly people are not carrying on working after they reach pension age for fun or to pass the time, but rather due to pure financial necessity,“ Zimmermann told the paper.