The odd mix-up occurred after pension office administrators in the Brazilian state of Sao Paulo indicated that the president had failed to provide them with the necessary paperwork to prove his condition back in September, when he celebrated his birthday.
President Michel Temer, 77, was left pensionless after officials suspended his payouts for the months of November and December because he did not take a ‘proof of life’ test two months earlier, local media reported.
As a result of the mistake, Sao Paulo Social Security, the government office which manages the pensions of state employees, withheld checks in the amount of 45,000 Brazilian reals (about $15,000 US), which Temer has been entitled to receive since his retirement from the job of public prosecutor of Sao Paulo in 1999 at the age of 58.
The lack of a pension did not affect Temer’s remuneration as president. The office of the president told local media that he did not reregister in time because of his busy schedule, and that he has already taken the necessary steps to re-register.
The mix-up is not without a sense of irony, as the Temer government has been actively pushing a controversial pension reform initiative, despite opposition from lawmakers and unions. The money-saving reforms, aimed at accounting for the country’s growing adult population, propose requiring people to work between 25 years and 40 years in order to qualify for a full pension. The government’s proposal also suggests raising pension age for women from 60 to 62. Brazil’s House of Representatives rejected the bill in October, with Temer vowing to try again this month.
Brazilians will go to the polls in October to elect a president, federal and state lawmakers and governors. Former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is currently leading in the polls, but faces jail time over corruption charges which may disqualify him from the race.