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Pensions & benefits

Everyone deserves to claim a pension after decades of hard work.

Pictured: A woman collects her pension in Zanzibar, thanks to work by Age International and partners   

What is a social pension?

Social pensions are a kind of basic pension that some governments give to their citizens.

In poor countries, the amount of money you get from a social pension will not be enough to retire on. But it will mean extra food each month - or being able to move away from manual labour into work that is more suitable for later life, like running a small market stall.

Thanks to us, 88-year-old Erenestina was one of the first women to receive a pension in Zanzibar

Pictured: 88-year-old Erenestina, one of the first women to receive a pension in Zanzibar, used it to start a fruit juice business 

Evidence shows that even the poorest of countries can afford to start a small social pension scheme – and the benefits are huge for everyone.

Cassim and granddaughters

Pictured: Grandpa Cassim with his granddaughters. He is using the money from his social pension to buy them books and send them to school.

Despite this, social pension schemes simply do not exist in many of the world's poorest countries. 3 out of 4 people in the world live without any form of pension.

These people have often worked their whole lives in insecure and low-paid jobs. They have no savings to fall back on when they grow older.

What we do

  1. We campaign for pensions around the world
  2. We help governments to set up pension schemes – and we are on the ground making sure they work properly
  3. We make sure people can claim benefits that they are owed - by helping them to get ID cards and proof of age

1.9 million more pensions

An extra 1.28 million older people received a social pension last year, thanks to work by Age International and our partners.

Where we create pensions

So far, we have helped to launch, support or advise on social protection programmes in:

  • Uganda
  • Kenya
  • Zanzibar
  • Myanmar

The struggle to get a pension even when it is available

If your government does offer a small social pension, or another benefit – like free medicines for people over a certain age – it can be very difficult to claim what you are owed.

This is because governments in poorer places do not have the infrastructure to tell people about pensions & benefits. Many of the older people we work with are illiterate and live in remote rural areas. They don’t even know about pensions – let alone know how to fill in the forms that are needed and prove their age with an ID card.

Pictured: 74-year-old Paul, from Kenya, holds the ID card that we helped him apply for

That is why we:

  • travel to remote areas to tell people about the benefits they can claim
  • help illiterate people to fill in the forms they need
  • help people get ID cards so they can prove their age

Older women: the hidden workforce

Globally, older women are contributing unrecognised yet critical support to their families, communities and economies through their paid and unpaid work. Our new report gives voice to older women’s experience of work and sets out recommendations for how to address this inequality.

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Donate today to help fund our work and make a difference to older people's lives all around the world.

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Last updated: Sep 21 2023

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