The government agency in charge of administering Sweden’s state pension has set out a range of alternative models for the country’s basic security benefits within the pension system, criticising the current set up as a complicated mishmash.

Ole Settergren, head of analysis at the Swedish Pensions Agency (Pensionsmyndigheten), said this morning: “We believe the government should appoint an inquiry with the task of analysing and proposing clear goals and appropriate rules to achieve these goals.”

The pensions authority said in a statement that the benefits of basic protection were difficult for pensioners to understand, which led to pensioners who were entitled to part of the benefits risking receiving an incorrect amount or nothing at all.

The comments were made as the agency published the first of a series of four reports. The series was launched a month ago by Pensionsmyndigheten, which said at the time that the project was aiming to start a discussion about possible future options for the pension system.

“The purpose of the various benefits is partly unclear and partly contradictory,” Settergren said, adding that the Swedish Pensions Agency questioned whether today’s rules were effective.

The agency said that when the current pension system was introduced in the 1990s, the legislature chose to keep parts of the previous model and introduced additional benefits over the following decades.

It criticised the income pension supplement introduced in 2021 as being in conflict with both basic protection and the income-based pension system.

The four benefits making up basic protection – guaranteed pension, housing supplement, special housing supplement and elderly support – were hard to understand and had differing eligibility criteria, the agency said.

“Today’s basic protection has been inherited and built on over many years,” Settergren said, adding: “As it is now constructed, it almost gives the impression of a patchwork quilt.”

There had been no collective analysis and assessment of the goals of the system, he said, and how its various parts worked together.

“If the purpose of the basic protection is to counteract economic vulnerability as effectively as possible, then today’s basic protection is neither simple, reliable nor economical,” the analysis chief noted.

The new report is called “Alternatives for simpler basic protection” (Alternativ för ett enklare grundskydd).

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