Mauricio Ossola, from the city of Salta in north-west Argentina, claimed it was Yolanda Torres’ “last wish” to marry him in April last year, 14 months before she died from sepsis. After her death, he went to claim a widower’s pension the following summer but the authorities rejected his application after they carried out an investigation and his neighbours told investigators they knew nothing about the marriage.
Mauricio, who admits Yolanda “wasn’t an expert when it came to the law” has vowed to go to the highest court in the land if necessary to prove he should get a weekly payment.
Mauricio moved in with his great-aunt after his parents separated eight years ago. He shared a home with his mum, her brother, his grandmother and his great-aunt Yolanda. At the time Mauricio married Yolanda in February 2015, he was still studying law. Mauricio described their wedding as a “discreet civil ceremony”” and a “noble and legitimate decision.”
He told his local paper El Tribuno de Salta: “She was an important support in my life and us getting married was her last wish. I loved Yolanda in the purest way you can love someone and that feeling, along with the pain her loss caused me, will remain with me for the rest of my life.
“When I began to apply for the pension I presented all the necessary paperwork and complied with all the legal requirements. Yolanda might have been over 90 but she was extremely lucid. But she wasn’t an expert when it came to the law and she wanted to be sure there were no legal problems with our marriage.”
Mauricio said their decision to marry came after she promised to help him continue his law studies which he had planned to abandon after his parents’ split. He admitted relatives had been initially concerned but their worries had been assuaged when he proved to them there was no legal impediment to the union. He says social services chiefs who now reject his pension request had even confirmed there should be no problem before they married.
Mauricio’s application is understood to have been rejected because Mauricio’s neighbours told investigators they knew nothing about the marriage. His neighbour’s testimony angered him so much.
He said in a rage: “Next to our house they’ve built a block where I know no one at all. What could these neighbours know about us and our discreet civil marriage. If I have to go all the way to the Supreme Court I will because the rejection of my petition is totally unfounded.
“I said to Yolanda after the separation of my parents: ‘Look Ulita, I’m going to have to abandon my studies.’ Those were the circumstances that led to us getting married. Yolanda insisted I had to finish my studies. She would say to me, ‘I’m going to help you because you always take care of me, you go with me to the doctor’s and you’re always helping me with my problems’. After some time had gone by, I asked her what she would think if I asked her to marry me.'”