Stockholmers ‘retire’ in droves to exploit pensioner discounts

Thousands of Swedes are claiming hefty pensioner discounts despite being in gainful employment, due a loophole enabling them to draw some of their pension in advance.

“In the trade we usually call them ‘Stockholm Transport pensioners’, said Kristina Kamp, economist at the Swedish Pensions Agency (Pensionsmyndigheten) referring to the hefty rebates that are awarded by Stockholm transport to the elderly.

In fact, according to Kamp, pensioners pay so much less on Stockholm’s public transport that Stockholmers are over-represented in the stats when it comes to these claims.

Anyone between 61 and 64, even if they are working full-time and only claim the smallest amount of pension (25 percent) are eligible for a certificate identifying them as pensioners, from the Swedish Pensions Agency.

Being able to prove you are a pensioner entitles seniors to cheaper rates on Stockholm public transport, cheaper theatre tickets and money off museum admissions.

Even if the drawn pension itself is small, there are thousands to be made in rebates.

According to news agency TT, SL is reporting a rise in sales of pensioner public transport passes, but there may be many reasons behind this – not in the least an aging population.

And according to Kamp, taking out some of your pension in advance is never risk-free. Because once in the system as a pensioner, it isn’t easy to remove that label.

“If you lost your job you’d suddenly be viewed as a pensioner and would receive less money in unemployment benefits,“ Kamp warned.

According to Kamp, there are many reasons why people start claiming their pension in advance.

She mentioned an incident she had heard of where someone needed extra money to afford a new chain saw. Claiming some of your pension seems to be seen as a lot easier than taking out a personal loan.

“But, what you should remember then is that you are digging in to your future income,” Kamp said.

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Stockholm commuter train station to reopen after emergency closure

Stockholm's main commuter train station is expected to reopen by the end of the week.

Stockholm commuter train station to reopen after emergency closure
Stockholm City has been closed since July 13th. Photo: Hossein Salmanzadeh/TT

Stockholm City and Odenplan closed earlier this month after an incident in which an escalator lost control and started running in the wrong direction. After safety checks, several of the escalators were found to be suffering from “significant wear and tear” despite being in use for only a year.

Public transport operator SL then decided to close the stations completely for safety reasons, until its maintenance teams had had the opportunity to further inspect and repair the escalators.

Odenplan reopened three days later, but Stockholm City remained closed. However, on Monday SL announced that the busy commuter train station would reopen by the end of this week.

It said 33 escalators had been examined without any faults noted and would be running again at the northern end of the platforms. Another 17 escalators will not yet have been repaired, but SL said they would be secured in a fixed position and passengers would be able to use them as regular stairs.

Stockholm City is part of the Swedish capital's main transport hub, connecting both to Stockholm Central and the underground. The closure has not affected other transport via the station (however, some other trains are not running due to unrelated scheduled repairs).

The commuter trains are currently passing Stockholm City without stopping. The closest alternative stops are Stockholm Södra (south of the city centre), Odenplan and Solna (north of the city).

If you need to travel onwards from Stockholm Södra, walk to metro station Mariatorget (red line) and travel by metro to T-Centralen or your preferred stop.

From Solna, replacement buses are transporting passengers from the train station to the metro, where you can take the blue line to central Stockholm.

READ ALSO: How to navigate Stockholm's public transport disruptions