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  • Yanina Martinez celebrates 100m Paralympic win, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, September 09, 2016.

    Yanina Martinez celebrates 100m Paralympic win, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, September 09, 2016. | Photo: EFE

Published 15 June 2017

Tens of thousands of other people in Argentina are still without their allowances under new measures.

Argentina's government has been forced to reinstate an athlete's axed pension following a public backlash.

Paralympics: Opportunity to Highlight Accessibility Achievements, Challenges in Latin America

Yanina Martinez, a 100-meter sprinter, has cerebral palsy and became the first Argentine in 20 years to win a gold medal at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Her benefit was suspended under new measures because she had acquired a sponsor to support her career.

At least 83,133 pensions have been eliminated or temporarily suspended between January and June.

Her mother Claudia Chavez said that the Macri administration had taken away her allowance in February.

The news was widely criticized and went viral in recent days as anger over the cuts grew.

Her mother stated that, if they had known the sponsorship would cause these problems, they would not have accepted it, as the money was not worth the loss of the pension.

But the Argentine provincial deputy of Santa Fe, Roy Lopez Molina, announced via Twitter that Martinez's pension has been reactivated, following the uproar.

Molina stated that Martinez “will recover from August retroactive to the month of May."

The legislator continued, “As with Yanina’s pension, all the cases are being reviewed, and if there were any errors they will be solved. If we are wrong, we correct.”

The cuts are based on new regulations which stipulate that the recipients can't own a car, which in the case of some disabled people may be the only viable form of transportation, and that their partners can't make more than US$1,250 a month, just above the poverty line for a family in the South American country.

Macri Govt Axes Pensions for 83,000 People with Disabilities

Also, the Argentine government stopped giving new disability certificates for the past year, and another 180,000 requests are still pending approval.

As the public backlash gathered pace, the government said the decision was not an attempt to boost public accounts, but was deisgned to purge the registry, claiming that not all recipients of the benefit fulfilled the requirements.

The 2010 census reported that 5.1 million people in Argentina have disabilities, which is 12.9 percent of the population.

President Mauricio Macri, as well as the Secretary of Sports Carlos Mac Allister were among those who congratulated Martinez's Paralympic win on Twitter last year and announced new sports programs and monetary aid for athletes with disabilities.

"Congratulations Yanina for the first gold medal in the Paralympic Games!"

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