Mexico expands pension access to 2.5 million elderly

MEXICO CITY, March 7 Thu Mar 7, 2013 9:57pm EST

MEXICO CITY, March 7 (Reuters) - Mexico's president on Thursday announced the expansion of a pension program that will provide 525 pesos ($41)a month to 2.5 million more elderly Mexicans, following through on one of many promised reforms.

The program, which had been available only to people over 70, will now include Mexicans aged 65 and above who do not have another form of retirement savings or pension, effective immediately, according to the Social Development Ministry, or SEDESOL.

Older adults "need and deserve just recognition and just support so that they live in better conditions at that time of life," President Enrique Pena Nieto said at an event in the western Mexican state of Jalisco.

The pension program, which will now benefit 5.6 million Mexicans, was created seven years ago and its expansion was included in the 2013 budget, according to SEDESOL.

It was also included in an agreement to advance a raft of reforms signed by Mexico's major parties in December, just after Pena Nieto took office. The reforms include revamping Pemex , the ailing state-owned oil company, and boosting the country's paltry tax take.

Pena Nieto, who was elected last year, is a member of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, which governed Mexico for seven decades before it was defeated in 2000.

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