Number of Pension Recipients in Venezuela Grew by 472% in 12 years

The Venezuelan government has increased the number of people receiving elderly and disability pensions by 472% over the last twelve years.

By Tamara Pearson - Venezuelanalysis.com

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Venezuelan senior citizens (Archive)
Venezuelan senior citizens (Archive)
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Mérida, October 25th, 2011 (Venezuelanalysis.com)– The Venezuelan government has increased the number of people receiving elderly and disability pensions by 472% over the last twelve years.

According to the minister of labour, Maria Iglesias, 387,007 people were receiving pensions in 1998, before President Hugo Chavez was first elected, and now 1,826,552 people are receiving pensions through the IVSS, Venezuela’s social security institute.

The main types of pensions available to Venezuelans are for disability, a survivor’s pension (widows), and old age pension. Retirement or old age is set at 60 years. Those receiving a widow’s pension but who remarry are still eligible for the pension.

In 2007 the government increased old age and disability pensions to always match the minimum wage, and in 2010 it increased widow’s pensions from 80% of the minimum wage to 100%. The government has increased the minimum wage annually, and it is currently Bs 1,548 (US$ 360) plus Bs 400 (US$ 93) in food tickets.

Pensioners will also receive end of year bonuses this year of Bs 3,096 (US$ 720) paid over November and December, Iglesias announced last month.

“They’re not hunger pensions anymore, nor is it necessary to wait years to be able to receive one,” Iglesias said.

Earlier this month the Venezuelan government also announced that it would create a mission for the country’s senior citizens to address issues such as access to social security and age related illnesses such as Alzheimer’s. Some elderly people are still without pensions as they may not have had formal work or their employers may have cheated them out of the benefit.

“It is necessary for us to consolidate different programs, institutions, the participation [of senior citizens] and revolutionary and socialist organisations. It is a mission that will address a series of different cases,” President Hugo Chavez said.

The government hopes to launch the mission by the end of the year.