Yet another controversy arose yesterday after news surfaced that the Macri administration canceled 70,000 disability pensions in the first half of the year this year. And as is usually the case in these kinds of situations, you will hear two completely opposing narratives about the issue depending on what side of the political spectrum you decide to pay attention to.
Government representatives argue that the numbers were artificially increased during the three Kirchner administrations and that the pensions were going to people who were not really entitled to them.
The other side doesn’t deny the increase. Their argument is that in reality, the former administration loosened the previous — tough — requirements to access pensions, thus making it available to more people who needed it.
Between 2003 and 2015, the duration of the three Kirchner administrations, the number of disability pensions increased from about 180,000 to 2 million. Sources like Infobae claim that only a natural catastrophe or a war could explain these kinds of figures.
As a result of this, the current government has now changed the requirements and taken away pensions from those who don’t meet the updated criteria. Currently, access to government welfare was based on:
- Having a percentage of disability higher than 76 percent of motor or mental skills.
- Having a spouse or legal representative with a monthly income lower than AR $19,200 (the equivalent of three pensions)
- The spouse not having access to the benefit as well.
- The person not having assets to face the expenses on their own. Owning a car, even if it is indispensable for the disabled person’s mobility, will also see a person stripped of their pension.
According to Página 12, the government has had to reinstate 40 percent of the pensions it had dropped due to bureaucratic errors: “However, those affected had to wait for more than six months on average to have their pensions reinstated,” the outlet claims.
Guillermo Badino, Head of the National Pensions Commission, an entity that works under the Social Development Ministry, told the press that “under the Kirchners, the pension system was riddled with corruption. […] The program has two main requirements: the person needs to be disabled and have a high degree of social vulnerability. We are seeing a lot of cases that don’t meet these requirements. If the reviews show that there’s no disability, or that the beneficiary receives some other type of social assistance, that must be revised,” he said.
As always, you can choose who to believe.