Govt. extends pension rights to voluntary soldiers

Monday, July 21, 2003

Colombia's government will extend armed forces pension benefits to voluntary soldiers, online news service Economia en Red reported.

Voluntary soldiers have until now had no right for pensions to beneficiaries in case of death nor to themselves in the case of disability or retirement.

Colombia's President Alvaro Uribe announced Monday, that voluntary soldiers will now benefit from the same social security rights as regular members of the armed forces.

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The criteria for disability pensions will also be more lax. Soldiers will be eligible for pensions if they lose 50% of their physical capacity, compared to 75% under current rules.

In the event of death, Uribe said, the soldier's family will immediately start to receive pension payments.

Colombia's finance ministry agreed to extend the new pension benefits to the families of voluntary soldiers who have died over the last year.