An administrative foul-up meant that senior citizens in the capital city of Nuevo León had to wait up to nine hours in line to receive their bimonthly support payments, and still some went home empty-handed.
The beneficiaries of the 65 y Más (65 and over) program had been expecting their pension payment since last week. Normally the 1,150-peso sum (US $60) is paid via direct bank deposit.
But problems at the Nuevo León office of the federal Secretariat of Social Development (Sedesol) meant that expired debit cards had not been renewed, forcing recipients to wait in line for their money.
Yesterday, people began lining up at 5:00am, four hours before the office opened. When clerks arrived, those in line were given a number. But only 240 people were able to receive their stipend, and many others were told to come back another day.
The story has been repeating itself since last week, and the only explanation given by the clerks was that “there is no money.”
Arturo Enriquez Puentes, 70, had already lined up on Friday. Yesterday, he left again without any money.
“I think they’re playing us for fools, or they don’t want to pay us,” he told the newspaper Reforma.
Ninety-nine-year-old Gregoria Campos Treviño arrived in line an hour after Enriquez. She can barely walk on her own and declined to speak because she was covering her mouth with a scarf due to the cold weather.
For Concepción Briones Olivo, 76, yesterday was the fourth day she had turned up looking for her money, and each time she had to pay a taxi 95 pesos (almost US $5) each way.
“What [money] will I have left? It’s been four days, and no pension,” she lamented.