Year: 2013 (Date of Decision: 5 February, 2013)
Forum, Country: Supreme Court; Argentina
Standards, Rights: Reasonableness; Proportionality; Nondiscrimination and equal protection of the law; Right to health; Right to social security; Right to an adequate standard of living; Children; Persons with Disabilities; Migrants
The petitioners in the case asked for a court order compelling the Comisión Nacional de Pensiones Asistenciales (national agency in charge of welfare pensions) to grant a disability pension to Daniela Reyes Aguilera, a 12-year-old Bolivian girl with a severely disabling condition. On the basis of national constitutional law and international human rights law, the petition challenged a discriminatory regulation requiring immigrants to prove 20 years of residence in Argentina to become eligible for a disability pension.
Holding: The Court decided the case in favour of the petitioners and declared that Daniela was entitled to obtain benefits.
The Court affirmed that there is a cognizable human right to social security. The eligibility requirement of 20 years residency for immigrants to receive disability pension was found to be unconstitutional as it was not justified [pp. 8, 27, 34 and 41], was unreasonable (“irrazonable”) [p. 39] and was a disproportionate limitation to the right to social security. The decision also cited other grounds for unconstitutionality of the rule including breach of the right to non-discrimination on the basis of national origin [p. 2 and p. 36], as well as violation of the rights to life [pp. 15], equality before the law [p. 5, 19] and right to health and social security [p. 7].
Additional Comments: The strict scrutiny test was applied. It is also important to note that since the judgement applied only to the case brought before the Court, Daniela did receive a disability award as per the Court’s decision but the residency requirement rule for immigrants was not altered.
Link to Full Case: http://www.cels.org.ar/common/documentos/reyes_aguilera.pdf, summary in English at http://www.escr-net.org/docs/i/1091579