In the 1980s, public assistance continued to be limited. The government provided pensions to some retired public officials and military officers, but it did not guarantee them to civil servants. A social-insurance system for employees of industrial, commercial, and agricultural firms provided pensions at age fifty-five, after twenty years of service, and compensation for total incapacity, after fifteen years of service. A system of work-injury benefits also covered private and public employees, providing partial or total disability compensation. These programs were administered by the Ministry of Social Affairs. In general, however, the dearth of social programs offered by the government forced most Haitians to rely mainly on their families and on the services provided by nongovernmental organizations. As has been true in so many other areas of life, Haitians have cultivated self-reliance in the face of hardship, scarcity, and the inadequacy of existing institutions.
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