Supplementary table 29, “Accrued-to-date pension entitlements in social insurance” for Belgium will be published for the first time in 2017. This table covers the pension schemes in social insurance: statutory pensions and occupational pensions, whether they are funded or not. Table 29 shows the pensions entitlements on an accrued-to-date basis. These are present values of the pension entitlements of the retired population and the part of pension entitlements that is already accrued by the future beneficiaries. As such, accrued-to-date liabilities do not represent public debt and are not an indicator of the fiscal or financial sustainability of the pension systems and are only appropriate for national accounts purposes. Accrued-to-date liabilities should only be interpreted as an asset from the households in national accounts’ terminology. An assessment of the sustainability of the pension systems can be found in the reports of the Ageing Working Group or the Belgian Study Commission for Ageing.
Table 29 is the most recent addition to the mandatory data transmission programme towards Eurostat, described by ESA 2010, the European System of Accounts 2010 (2008 System of National Accounts for non-European countries). The idea behind the table is to establish complete and consistent coverage of pension entitlements in a country and to promote comparability across countries. Therefore, the table brings together information already shown in the standard or ‘core’ national accounts (columns A to F of Table 29) with information on unfunded pension systems, which are not reported in the core accounts (columns G and H of Table 29).
For Belgium, the National Accounts Institute is responsible for the delivery of this table to Eurostat. It has entrusted the National Bank of Belgium and the Federal Planning Bureau with the completion of the supplementary table. The contribution of the Federal Planning Bureau to Table 29 concerns columns G and H, which contain the statutory pension schemes.
The methodologies discussed in this paper have been the subject of a presentation to the joint reunion of the Scientific committee on national accounts and the Scientific committee of public sector accounts of the National Accounts Institute. In this reunion, a formal approval was given to the implementation of the methodologies.
To allow consistent comparability across countries, the supplementary table covers only the pension part of social insurance. For Belgium, columns G and H will contain old-age pensions and survivors’ pensions as they are an integral part of the pension scheme. The assistance scheme (guaranteed income for the elderly), disability benefits and unemployment benefits with company allowance non-job seeker are excluded. Individual personal pensions are also excluded as they are no part of social insurance. This working paper comments a first completion of columns G and H and handles on the MIDAS microsimulation model and the necessary modifications to compute accrued-to-date liabilities (ADLs), the underlying assumptions of the modelling and the detailed estimation methodology of the values. The Federal Planning Bureau has taken a very strict position in the application of the minimal career duration criteria for the guaranteed minimum pensions and the minimum claim per working year. Those minimum provisions will only enter into force when their criteria are already met by the career durations as they are reported for each individual in the dataset.
The working paper concludes by commenting on the sensitivity analysis on the discount rate and the benchmarking of the obtained results.
The presented values in this working paper might still change before final delivery to Eurostat. Depending on the timing of the publication of the Ageing Working Group report, the model will be aligned to the projections of this last report. The final version of columns G and H of the supplementary table will then be published in a future report of the Federal Planning Bureau.