San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Arias Boosts Pensions For Poverty Stricken

President Oscar Arias has expanded a program that gives health care and a monthly cash transfer to senior citizens, invalids, widows and orphans in conditions of extreme poverty.

Arias announced Wednesday that the monthly transfer will increase from $100 to $115, retroactive to March 1, and that 400 new beneficiaries would be added each month. Some 75,500 people are now part of the program, which is credited with helping to reduce poverty from 20.2% to 16.7% in the year ending last July.

The program, administered by the State Social Security System (Caja) since 1974, has expanded three times during Arias’ administration. Transfers doubled to about $70 a month in July 2006, then increased to $100 a month in June 2007, said program director Roy Retana.


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