the end of social pensions in Mexican states?

Some states in Mexico see the lowering of the federal government’s universal minimum pension age from 70 to 65 as an opportunity to end their own social pensions. The new government in Chiapas, for example, is invoking this as an excuse to end its experiment with universal pensions. And the government of Guerrero (the state where Acapulco is located) has just announced the end of its social pension, “Pensión Guerrero”, the oldest in Mexico after that of Mexico City. For more than 50,000 pensioners in Guerrero, the March/April 2013 benefit payment will be their last one. To continue to receive a pension, they must apply for benefits from the federal agency, SEDESOL.

La secretaria de Desarrollo Social del Estado, Beatriz Mojica Morga, aseguró que el gobierno del estado realizará el último pago correspondiente al bimestre marzo-abril, por lo que pidió a las personas de la tercera edad permanecer atentas para realizar su último cobro en este mes de mayo en los lugares de costumbre.

“Pensión Guerrero” nació en el año 2003 … [y] actualmente beneficiaba a más de 50 mil personas con un presupuesto anual de 300 millones de pesos al año. ….

[E]l padrón de beneficiarios del programa “Pensión Guerrero” será absorbido por un nuevo programa que impulsa el gobierno federal, y que se encargará de atender a todos los adultos mayores de 65 años de edad del país, siempre y cuando no tengan acceso a beneficios de otro programa de esta naturaleza.

Carlos Cabrera, “Guerrero desaparece programa de pensiones“, El Universal, 13 May 2013.

The federal pension is small – 525 pesos (US$40) a month – so state governments in the past have allowed their elderly to claim benefits simultaneously from the federal and state governments. As of 2012, 17 of Mexico’s 32 state governments had social pensions in place for aged residents. It remains to be seen how many state schemes will remain following this year’s massive expansion of the federal programme.

There is no logical reason for state initiatives to end. Top-ups of the small federal pensions are common, for example, in states of India and the USA. Mexico City’s universal pension, which is nearly twice the size of the federal benefit, will undoubtedly remain in place, with elderly residents drawing both federal and local pensions in the future, just as they have in the past.

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