Early retirement in Germany.....is something that rarely happens. Typically, it's a guy who was cop, fireman, or successful businessman. Beyond that group, it's tough to go and get a doctor's note to say that your health (mental or physical) is so bad.....that you should be allowed your social pension early.
So in today's news, I noticed this piece from WDR (public TV) which chatted about this issue and the prosecution office in Munster.
No one says precisely how this suspicion started up or if it was just statistical averages that pointed this out.....but there were a lot of folks coming up in Munster with notes from a particular psychiatrist (out of the Bochum region).
The claim here is that roughly 600 episodes came up in this one region, from this one doctor, and it's higher than it should be.....leading to a court review.
The accusation? Only an accusation. The talk is that he gave a false opinion for people to get early retirement. Added into this story is that people paid this guy money under the table....so the tax evasion folks are interested in this because it's all cash, and he never reported the income. The amounts suggested? Two thousand to seven thousand Euro. You can do the math here and figure that it's in the ballpark of 200,000 Euro or more that he made....tax-free....IF true.
Right now....at least twenty-seven cases are identified as fraud.
Prosecutors say that some folks were even coached on how to act (mentally ill) when boards were convened to push forward the paperwork to be approved.
A national problem? This was simply one particular area, but I would take a guess that across Germany (82-million)....there are hundreds each month working on some scheme, with some doctor and trying to find a way to get early retirement.
The general problem is that the national social pension program is not exactly healthy and with the birth-rate problem....you really can't allow fraudulent early retirement to occur.
When you normally see early and legitimate early retirement in Germany....it's usually back issues, or extreme stress (where yearly visits to the 'Kur' have occurred), and there's just no way for the guy or gal to go back into work. My father-in-law (long passed) was a German roofer, and by his early 60s.....he was one of the legit early retirees.
The curious thing to this is that all of these people identified under this doctor's medical notes....will be dragged back into another review board, and most will be told to "un-retire", and go back to work. Imagine these characters showing up at the local jobs office....fifty to sixty years old, and having to find some kind of job to get them back into the real world.