Barriers to accessing social pensions in rural Nepal

Non-contributory social pensions effectively support older people securing a livelihood in countries of the Global South. However, access is difficult in remote rural areas (Handayani & Babajanian, 2012). This case study examines obstacles that beneficiaries from five Nepalese mountain villages encounter when accessing a social pension. A critical livelihoods perspective provides a suitable lens to grasp their experiences from an emic perspective. Based on qualitative in-depth interviews, participant observation, group discussions and expert interviews, the findings illustratively reveal that barriers involve poor health, illiteracy, lack of awareness, lack of familial support, poor infrastructure, recent changes in disbursement, and geographic remoteness. This article concludes that non-contributory social pensions have proven effective for supporting older people to maintain a livelihood. Hence, implementation and disbursement methods should be reconsidered because the access to the social pension turned out to remain difficult. Based on the findings, possible recommendations for improvement and implementation of social pensions for older people are made.