|Some 4.6 million elderly Vietnamese are not receiving any form of financial support from the country's social programmes. — Photo nld.com.vn
HANOI (VNS) — Almost half of the population aged 60 and above in Viet Nam is not eligible for social subsidies or participate in the country's social insurance programme.
This was among the main concerns raised by participants during a May 19 conference in Ha Noi entitled, "Financial Security of Older Women" and co-organised by the Vietnam National Committee for the Elderly, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Singapore-based Tsao Foundation.
Government statistics last year indicated there were more than 9.5 million elderly aged 60 and above. Of these, only 1.4 million received financial assistance for their contribution to the country's revolutionary wars.
Another 1.4 million were entitled to the Government financial assistance programme for the elderly aged 80 and above, which begins by providing VND180,000 a month (US$8.5). Another two million were eligible to receive pensions, while support was given to 95,000, being provided through various social programmes.
However, some 4.6 million elderly Vietnamese are not receiving any form of financial support from the country's social programmes.
UNFPA's Nguyen Ngoc Quynh, PhD., said many Vietnamese aged 60 and above, of which up to 35 per cent were women, are still working an average 32-35 hours per week, though most were unable to make an adequate living.
Tran Bich Thuy, Director of HelpAge International Vietnam, a global organisation whose mission is to support the elderly to challenge discrimination and overcome poverty, said women in Vietnam make up a larger part of the unofficial labour market, though their incomes were reported to be lower, compared to men. This has resulted in more older women (up to 81 per cent) who were without pensions.
Several programmes designed to assist elderly Vietnamese with financial support have been undertaken and multiplied in recent years to provide a means for the elderly to support themselves.
However, experts at the conference pointed out there is still discrimination and limitations within the current programmes, making them inaccessible to a large number of Vietnam's older population.
These experts have called for a complete survey of the country's older population's ability to support themselves financially and the establishment of various programmes to assist them. – VNS