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2021 The University of Florida Award for Investigative Data Journalism, Small/Medium Newsroom finalist

La promesa rota

El colapso de la seguridad social en Venezuela

About the Project

In this research and data work, Prodavinci evidenced how the Venezuelan State confiscated the savings of Venezuelan workers. A Venezuelan university professor contributed $16,426 to Social Security in 20 years of work. The system will pay him back just $ 281 over the next 25 years.

Based on criteria of equity and social justice, we collected twenty years of data on salaries of teachers, university professors and employees who earn minimum wage, to calculate how much has fallen the value of the pension and savings available to workers to live during your retirement. In addition, based on econometric methodologies, we calculate the value of the workers’ contributions to social security to find out how much of their savings was paid by the social security system. We estimated how much each pensioner did not receive and how much the State did not transfer so that the old-age pension would equal the value of the food basket. We found the following findings:

  • The value of the pension in 2000 was the equivalent of $311.06, twenty years later it is only the equivalent of $0.94, a drop of 99.70%. Five million people depend on this income to survive.
  • A university professor who retired in 2000 had $174,200 in social benefits and pensions to live on for the next 25 years. Whoever retired in 2020 will only receive $371.61.
  • The old-age pension exceeded the price of the food basket calculated by the National Institute of Statistics in 40 out of 169 months, between October 2000 and October 2014. In that period, the average coverage percentage was 92%. In the last 20 years, the average coverage reaches 76%. In order for the pension to cover the value of the food basket, the State had to transfer to all beneficiaries at least an additional 8,396 million dollars during the last 20 years.
  • Venezuelan workers who retired in 2020 contributed up to 57 times more to Social Security than they will receive in pensions throughout their old age. A Venezuelan university would need to live 1,459 years for Social Security to pay back his job savings.
  • If the pension had maintained the value of the food basket, 1,512,851 people of retirement age would have come out of poverty measured by income in 2019: 55.40% of that age group.

All these findings were calculated from a reconstruction of our own data, which are available on the landing page “The broken promise: the collapse of social security in Venezuela.” Due to official opacity, there is no public information available in Venezuela for any of these indicators. This work includes links to stories collected in the past on pensioners and retirees in the country, since this work is the latest project in a line of research on the elderly and social justice in the humanitarian emergency.