Assuring income security in old age: views of the Mongolian elderly

Assuring income security in old age: views of the Mongolian elderly

Mongolian social pension system works well but needs changes to be sustainable

The proportion of older persons in Mongolia (those aged 60 years and over) is currently estimated at less than 7 per, but this is expected to increase to nearly 25 per cent by 2050. This trend is due to declining levels of fertility and improvements in life expectancy and survival rates to older ages.

Mongolia has relatively developed social pensions system and welfare schemes. However, liberalisation of the economy coupled with unprecedented increases in the older population, have added pressure on the social pensions system. This report presents the findings of an  assessment of the impact of social pensions.

The study concludes that older persons feel they are better off than they would have been without a social pension.  An income of their own enhances their self esteem, enables them to buy basic necessities and participate in social activities. Also, in many cases, they are able to contribute to the household income, particularly towards the education costs of their grandchildren.

The authors argue that although Mongolia’s social pensions and welfare system for older persons is relatively better than those of most less developed countries, there remains room for  improvement.

Main suggestions on contributory pensions, resulting from interviews and focus group discussion:

  • the amount paid under contributory pensions should be increased or at least adjusted periodically for inflation and depreciation of the Mongolian tugrug
  • public advocacy activities on the methodology of calculating the amount of the contributory pension should be conducted to make calculation easily understandable by the elderly
  • variations in the pension amounts, discriminating against the “victims” of transition should at least be minimised, if not completely eliminated
  • the retirement age (currently 60 for males and 55 for females) should be raised in view of  improving life expectancy and increasing capability of older persons to continue working
The recommendations on social pensions and other social welfare schemes:
  • the eligibility conditions for social pensions as well as other forms of social assistance should be revised to ensure that a number of deserving older persons currently left out are also covered
  • the amount of social pensions needs to be increased and periodically adjusted for changes in the cost of living
  • bureaucratic procedures should be streamlined in determining eligibility as well as in the
    disbursement of the social pension
  • all older people should enjoy opportunities to get service at resorts at discounted rates and be given monetary assistance for fuel on an equal base. Such types of assistance should not be restricted to once a year but their frequency should be based on need
  • government should consider providing housing to older people with no housing
This Report is the outcome of the joint efforts of the UNFPA Asia and the Pacific Regional Office (APRO) in Bangkok and the UNFPA Country Office in Mongolia.