The development of social security programmes in Argentina began in the early twentieth century. Although the programmes were fragmented, stratified and disorganized at first, they have reached a major expansion and consolidation.
Currently, social protection in Argentina has a large number of policies and programmes that include both basic social protection as well as other components that provide a higher level of protection, such as compulsory contributory insurance. In the first group, it may be cited as an example the family allowance benefits and the retirement or pension benefits, which have reached even those families and/or workers in the informal economy.
The nationalization of the provisional system in 2008, from the Integrated System of Retirements and Pensions (Sistema Integrado de Jubilaciones y Pensiones - SIJP) to the Argentine Integrated Provisional System (Sistema Integrado Previsional Argentino - SIPA), improved the financing of social security by taking control of the Pension Fund and transforming it into the Guarantee Fund for Sustainability (approximately 10% of GDP) and by adding the monthly flow of contributions from individual retirement accounts managed until then by the Pension Fund Administrators. This allowed changes in the social security system to increase the coverage on various dimensions and the extension thereof.
Coverage data from transfer programmes show encouraging indicators: primary school enrollment is almost universal, 86% of boys, girls and adolescents are covered by family allowance benefits in 2009 (ILO, 2012); 90% of adults over 65 years receive a retirement benefit or pension; and at least 768,094 people of working age are covered by programmes to combat unemployment, problems related to access to the labour market and the risk of losing their jobs (MTEySS, 2012).
The challenge of social protection in Argentina is to obtain systems that provide effective coverage to vulnerable populations, preventing welfare losses of those populations and reducing the risk of falling into poverty, regardless of employment status of workers.
The current political agenda, that encompasses issues such as coverage gaps, access and program overlap, inefficiency in the provision of basic services, suggests that measures should be taken for consolidating a Social Protection Floor.