• migrant worker;
  • old age benefit;
  • health insurance;
  • Mexico;
  • United States


In the absence of a bilateral agreement for the portability and totalization of social security contributions between the United States and Mexico, this article examines the access to pension and health insurance benefits and employment status of older Mexican return migrants. We find that return migrants who have spent less than a year in the United States have a similar level of access to social security benefits as non-migrants. Return migrants who have spent at least a year in the United States are less likely to have public health insurance or social security benefits, and could be more vulnerable to poverty in old age. These results inform the debate on a bilateral social security agreement between the United States and Mexico to improve return migrants' social security.