A private advisory panel to Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori has proposed that the government force better-off retirees to pay into social security again to prevent the system from collapsing and to ease the growing burden on younger, working people.
It also urged the continued use of national insurance premiums to fund the social security system, despite recent calls from some quarters for more consumption tax revenues to be used or the creation of a special-purpose tax instead.
The proposals are the basis of a full report to be submitted in late October.
Amid growing concern over how to fund the nation’s social security system at a time when the population is rapidly graying, the panel said public anxiety is growing in tandem with the declining birthrate.
It said younger workers feel it is unfair that they should pay large premiums to support elderly people when it is possible the benefits they will receive when they retire might be cut because of the decreasing number of children who will support the system later.
The memo recommends the government abandon the long-held idea that the elderly are uniformly “underprivileged” and says retirees should be asked to pay social security costs in accordance with their financial capabilities.
It also says public pension benefits should not cover all aspects of retired life and that the government should consider taxing elderly people in higher income brackets.
It also called for retirees who are better-off to chip in toward health care costs.
National insurance premiums are used to fund pensions, health care and employment benefits. While the starting age for receiving pension payments is 60, the government has provided the incentive of greater monthly pension payments to people aged between 60 and 64 if they wait until 65 to start receiving the money.
The incentive is meant to encourage people to continue working until they are 65.
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