Tibet is the first Chinese region to cover all elders with a pension, according to government officials. Tibet began a  trial pension scheme to cover people living in rural areas in 2009, and has now expanded the program to include individuals living in urban areas. Under the plan, every elder over age 60 receives 55 yuan ($8.70 USD) a month. This is neither means tested nor is it based on prior payment of contributions  to the government.  People ages 16 to 59 may contribute to a pension fund and are guaranteed a basic pension plus an annual subsidy equal to 0.7 percent of what they have contributed. Under the contribution based plan, people must contribute for a minimum of 15 years. Monks and nuns are also allowed to participate in the plan. China’s central government has established a goal of universal pension coverage by 2015.

Photo courtesy Sarah Hertzog/HelpAge International 2010