Growing old in Indonesia is a risky endeavour. As elderly people’s capacity to work declines due to old age or disability, they are much more likely than their younger counterparts to fall into poverty. After a lifetime of contributing to Indonesian society, many elderly people, especially elderly women, have to depend on family members who are struggling themselves. Yet Indonesia’s elderly people want to maintain both their autonomy and dignity for as long as they can.
The difficulties they face stem largely from the absence of social protection for the elderly. Around 85 per cent of older people in Indonesia have no income security. An elderly grant scheme paid monthly to all Indonesians when they reach the age of 65 or 70 could significantly reduce poverty and income insecurity in old age.
At the same time, this would improve social cohesion and contribute towards economic growth. The grant would complement civil service pensions and the contributory pensions paid through the Employees’ Social Security System (BPJS Ketenagakerjaan) and offer social protection coverage to all Indonesians once they reach a certain age.