Feasibility Study Towards A Universal Pension In Belize. The population of Belize is rapidly ageing – a fact which underlines the need for policies that address the challenges which people face as they get older. Assuring a secure income is one of these challenges and a key concern of older people. Meanwhile, poverty as a whole in Belize – and for older people – has risen dramatically in the last ten years. The government has articulated a clear priority to reverse this trend and invest in human development, including social protection.Non-contributory (or “social) pensions are key to assuring a minimum income to older people in a country like Belize.
Meanwhile, they have proven to be an important component of an effective social protection package which reduces the poverty of the whole population and supports economic growth.The Belize government has acknowledged this through the introduction of the Non-Contributory Pension (NCP) for women in 2003 and its extension to older men in 2007. The NCP was introduced in 2003 for women over the age of 65 and extended to include men over the age of 67 in 2007. Eligibility depends on the individual having “no source of income or inadequate means of support”.
Nevertheless, due to the means test, coverage remains low and many of the poor miss out. This report considers the potential for implementing a universal pension, which would guarantee that all Belizeans receive a minimum regular income in their old age.