Non-contributory pensions have become extremely popular in the last decade, with 78 developing countries currently distributing money in this way, and their acclaimed impacts are increasingly celebrated. Studies have found them to contribute not only to ‘obvious’ needs such as increased consumption and income security but also to investments in productivity, social relationships, health, increased access to credit and savings, while it has become common to claim that they contribute to intangible goals such as dignity and citizenship. The danger of some of these claims is that they assume that wellbeing is heavily responsive to monetary wealth, rather than other areas. To study this, an ethnographic methodology, based on participant observation and semi-structured interviews, was employed in two rural communities located in the La Paz department in the highland Altiplano region of Bolivia close to Lake Titicaca. Our analysis shows that while the Renta Dignidad increases older persons’ livelihood security, its contributions to other areas where non-contributory pensions are claimed to have major impacts, such as productive investment, health care and relational wellbeing, are actually relatively limited. The policy implication of this is that a more integral approach needs to be adopted to older persons' wellbeing, going beyond cash transfers to greater efforts to bring health-care services to older people in remote rural areas.