Yesterday I wrote that Yucatán is the only state of Mexico to follow the example of Mexico City (and the federal 70+ rural scheme) by offering a universal pension to elderly residents.
I was wrong. I have since discovered that Chiapas has provided universal age pensions since January 2007 and, unlike Yucatán, has done so with great success. The programme is called Amanecer. Its full name is “Adultos Mayores Nuestra Esperanza y Certidumbre”, but is rarely used. The Amanecer scheme provides 238 thousand seniors with monthly pensions of $550 pesos ((US$41). To Qualify, applicants have to provide only proof of age (64 years or older) and proof of residence in the state. The programme is truly universal, and reaches an estimated 98% of the age-qualified population.
The federal 70+ scheme operates in Chiapas, providing universal pensions to everyone from the age of 70 who live in communities with a population smaller than 30,000. There is no mention, in the rules for benefits, that those receiving other pension income are ineligible for Amanecer, and the number of Amanecer beneficiaries suggests that many in Chiapas, aged 70 years and older, might be receiving two pensions each month, for a total of $1,050 pesos. If any reader is in Chiapas, or knows someone in Chiapas, I would very much like to find out if my suspicion is correct.
Using information available on the internet, I am in the process of assembling information on noncontributory pensions in each state of Mexico. This is an ongoing project. Chiapas has the best scheme that I have found so far. Nothing has been written about it, even though the programme should be an example for the rest of Mexico, and for the world. Chiapas is, after all, the poorest state of the Mexican union. It ranks 32nd in the Human Development Index (HDI) for Mexico’s 31 states and Federal District, and 32nd also in the per capita GDP list. Yucatán ranks higher: 19th in the HDI list and 17th in the per capita GDP list.
Total absence of information and analysis is reason enough to travel to Chiapas to study this amazing programme. Chiapas is very tempting, especially today when I am writing from Ottawa, where the temperature is a frigid -21 degrees celsius. But I leave the task to a younger scholar.