#SocialJustice: Stefka_” I didn’t know my rights; we manage to ‘win’ what no one told me I was entitled to”

Stefka was born and raised in Bulgaria. In the mid-1990s, she, like many of her compatriots, arrived at Greece in search of a better life, a life that would allow her access to basic rights, such as work and financial independence.  26 years later, Stefka has acquired the Greek citizenship and since 2007 she is a pensioner. Stefka was unaware of the reasons why her pension was being reduced each year. It was reduced without a sufficient explanation by authorities. She didn’t know the pension amount she was entitled to, and whether her insurance had paid her retirement pensions which, she was later informed, had the right to receive it retrospectively.

She visited the Athens Solidarity Center seeking legal support regarding her pension issue. Prior to that, she had visited her social insurer several times as well as private lawyers. All in vain. The Center’s legal team responded to Stefka’s request and took a careful look at her pension profile and data. According to the data, the social insurer owed Stefka the amount of 5,500 euros which she would no longer be entitled to if she did not request it by the end of 2019, as there is a limitation period for the application of such request. Stefka had been deprived of other monies owed by the social insurer in the past due to deadlines she was not aware of and unable to meet.

Stefka is now fully aware of her pension profile, her rights, and will immediately receive the above-mentioned amount owed to her by her social insurer.

Unfortunately, the nature and the way public services function is slow and dissuades people belonging to vulnerable social groups, such as Stefka- a foreigner, working in Greece for many years who has acquired the Greek citizenship- to have equal access and rights to social services and benefits which constitute the structure of a Welfare State. The Solidarity Center’s Legal Service responded to a twofold need: to provide information but also legal representation and mediation in claiming rights, thus restoring the unequal treatment of a citizen.


*The Athens Solidarity Center is financed by EEA and Norway Grants, with HumanRights360 and CROWE Greece as the fund operator. The Center is also supported by the Municipality of Athens.