Social protection systems for older adults in Latin America and the Caribbean

Suárez, Rubén; Pescetto, Claudia
May 2005
Revista Panamericana de Salud Publica;May/Jun2005, Vol. 17 Issue 5/6, p419
Only one half (50.1%) of all older adults in Latin America currently receive benefits under some form of social protection system for the elderly, either through social assistance or social security programs, or have access to a savings plan for old age in the form of individual capitalization accounts (ICA) based on mandatory or voluntary contributions. The other half enjoys no social protection at all; its consumer and health needs are covered through accrued assets, voluntary family transfers, or charitable deeds. Social security pension plan reforms and the creation of social-security-based savings plans for old age in the form of ICA have failed to yield the expected results in terms of coverage and benefits. Overall, reforms have led to the dismantling of social-security-based social protection systems for the elderly without creating alternative mechanisms for social protection. This document describes the various social protection systems and savings plans for old age that are in place in countries of the Region and looks at current challenges in terms of correcting "government failures" and applying policies that will redress "market failures," so that the working population can count on having enough resources to satisfy its consumer and health needs after retirement.


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