social pensions in Puebla (Mexico)

While seeking information on social pensions in Mexico, I came across a 250-page “evaluation of social develpment policies in Mexico”, published in November 2012 by the Consejo Nacional de Evaluación de la Política de Desarrollo Social (CONEVAL). In chapter 3 (p. 82), there is a chart that lists (with many errors and omissions) “State pensions for the elderly, Mexico, 2011”. The chart was useful for me only because it includes (correctly, it turns out) Puebla in the list of states that with a social pension in 2011. I had overlooked this state, with a population of 6 million, so am now correcting the oversight.

Consejo Nacional de Evaluación de la Política de Desarrollo Social (CONEVAL), Informe de Evaluación de la Política de Desarrollo Social en México 2012 (Mexico, DF, November 2012), p. 82.

Puebla’s social pension, like the federal one of the day, was called “70 y más”, and promised a modest monthly benefit of 500 pesos (about 40 dollars). It was initiated in May 2011 by the new PAN governor, Rafael Moreno Valle. The scheme was for everyone from age 70, but was pension-tested. This excluded, then, everyone living in rural areas, who had access to a universal federal pension from age 70. Elderly residents of urban areas qualified for a state pension provided they did not receive a contributory pension from the federal government. Sufficient funds were budgeted for more than 40,000 pensioners, and 1,658 pensioners enrolled during the first month (May of 2011). By the end of the year, there were 2,146 pensioners on the list, when the programme was brought to an abrupt end.

De manera discrecional, el gobierno del estado suspendió la entrega de recursos del programa 70 y Más Urbano que ofrecía apoyos por 500 pesos mensuales a los Adultos Mayores en la entidad, con el objetivo de incorporar la partida presupuestal que ascendía a los 230 millones de pesos al financiamiento de otros proyectos, como los de infraestructura que mantiene a lo largo del estado.
En entrevista, el secretario de Desarrollo Social (Sedeso), Salvador Escobedo Zoletto reconoció que dicho programa fracasó en su incorporación en el estado toda vez que duplicaba funciones con el Programa Federal 70 y Más, por lo que se decidió cancelar el pago de pensiones a los más de 40 mil adultos mayores para incorporarlos a la dinámica nacional.

Jorge Luis Hernández, “Suspende Estado entrega del ’70 y más’ urbano por otros proyectos“, NG Puebla, 29 November 2011.

Puebla’s social pension lasted only 8 months, and reached a tiny fraction of the state’s elderly population. Mr Escobedo Zoletto, the Minister of Social Development, was able to cancel “payment of pensions to more than 40 thousand elderly persons”, even though 95% of the beneficiaries had never received a pension!

For an superb post-mortem (in Spanish) of Puebla’s pension scheme, see this blog post:

Luis Aldana, “Moreno Valle no cumple, da apoyos mensuales a sólo 0.66% de adultos mayores“, Elecciones poblanas, 26 December 2011.

This concludes (I hope!) my blogs on social pensions in each Mexican state. Now I will attempt to summarize all this material. It has been unbelievably difficult to uncover facts. Without the internet, the task would have been an impossible one. In 2012 the federal 70+ programme was extended – with a federal pension test – to all of Mexico, so many state schemes are coming to an end. The federal government allows states to ‘duplicate’ (I prefer to say ‘augment’) its programme, but some state governments, such as Puebla, are using this as an excuse to terminate social pensions.

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