CONEVAL Finds Inconsistencies in National Social Health ProgramsBy Miriam Bello | Fri, 08/06/2021 - 14:38
A recent study by CONEVAL reveals that Mexico’s welfare pension program did not deliver the expected funds to a significant percentage of potential recipients. The “Advances and Challenges of the Pension Program for the Welfare of People with Permanent Disabilities” study also claims that the welfare program fails to clearly address the needs of its target population.
In February 2019, the government announced a social program to economically support people with disabilities in Mexico. However, more than half of the programs that involved direct transfers failed to deliver the funds during 1Q2021, reports CONEVAL.
Mexico has about 21 million people living with a disability, representing 16.5 percent of the country’s population. Of those, 6.12 million people were identified as living with a physical disability, 723,770 lived with a mental disability and 13.93 million self-reported a physical limitation in performing daily activities such as walking, seeing, hearing, applying self-care, speaking, communicating, remembering or concentrating. Many disabilities are concentrated on the population over 60 years of age, which represent 40.9 percent of the 21 million. They are followed by those between 30 and 59 years of age, who represent 29.8 percent, those between the ages of 18 and 29 represent 9.8 percent and those under 17 years old represent 9.1 percent. Moreover, between 2010 and 2016 the number of people with disabilities living in poverty increased from 2.91 million to 4.34 million.
The program “Pension Bienestar” (Welfare Pension) aims to contribute to well-being of that population and reduce the inequality gap. Through the transfer of a bimonthly income that would help them access a better quality of life and reduce poverty. The pension provides a bimonthly payment of MX$2,550 (US$127). The program serves benefits those between 0 and 29 years of age throughout the country. It also benefits adults with disabilities between 30 and 64 years of age who either live in municipalities where indigenous peoples reside or in urban areas with a high degree of marginalization, poverty and high crime rates.
In 2019, the program had an original budget of MX$8.5 billion (US$423.4 million) but it was modified to MX$8.39 billion (US$415.7 million). In 2020, the program has a total of MX$14.12 billion (US$706.9 million) approved, which represented a 67 percent increase. However, its implementation has not been adequate to achieve a real change in the lives of citizens with disabilities.
According to CONEVAL’s study, the program fails to set consistent criteria for prioritizing its target population. “It is important that the program adequately define and characterize its population and that this definition be consistent in its different normative documents, since currently the terms disability and permanent disability are used interchangeably when they are not synonymous.” These changes would help the program have more precise information on the population that it represents. Late, it would allow the program to define coverage strategies in the short, medium and long terms. CONEVAL also suggests the inclusion of eligibility criteria that considers the level of income and other socioeconomic aspects of applicants.