Brazil

Brazil will give financial aid of up to BRL 1,200 to low-income families

It is the first effective economic measure by the Brazilian government to directly help the population

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  • The text needs to go through the Senate next week, so that aid is made available to the population as soon as possible;
  • Initially, a few weeks ago, the economic team wanted to grant BRL 200 to informal workers.

On Thursday Brazil’s House of Representatives approved the project that provides an emergency aid grant of BRL 600 (almost $120) to informal workers. For mothers responsible for the family’s income (single-parent families), the project allows the granting of two assistance quotas, that is, BRL 1,200 (almost $240). The aid will be given for the next three months.

The aid will only be granted to those who have a monthly income per capita of up to half a minimum wage or family income of up to three minimum wages.

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The text needs to go through the Senate next week, so that aid is made available to the population as soon as possible.

Initially, a few weeks ago, the economic team wanted to grant BRL 200 to informal workers. Last Tuesday, after pressure from experts, the press and a part of the politicians, he admitted raising the value to BRL 300.

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According to Folha de S.Paulo, the project’s rapporteur, Marcelo Aro (PP-MG), decided to increase the aid to BRL 600 after Bolsonaro defended the new value in statements in Brasilia.

The emergency aid seems to have been a first point of convergence between the government of Jair Bolsonaro, the opposition and experts from civil society.

As El País pointed out, the coronavirus pandemic is likely to represent a turning point, capable of accelerating political discussions and consensus in Brazil and Latin America.

According to Folha, members of the economic team estimate the impact of the measure on government accounts should be of BRL 44 billion ($8.8 billion) during the next three months.

After being approved by the Senate and sanctioned by Bolsonaro, the emergency aid will reach 100 million Brazilians, including the 77 million low-income people who are already registered in the Cadastro Único, the federal government’s base register for social programs.

How the aid is going to work

Those who already receive monthly assistance from the Bolsa Família income transfer program will also be entitled to the new benefit.

The aid will be paid through federal state-owned banks, through deposits in digital savings accounts. The financial institution may automatically open the account on behalf of the beneficiaries.

Individual micro-entrepreneurs (MEIs, in the acronym well known by the Brazilians), individual taxpayers and informal workers who have registered with the Cadastro Único by March 20 will also be entitled to the benefit.

The bill approved by the deputies also frees companies from paying the 15 days of remuneration for employees away from work due to illness. The INSS (National Institute of Social Security) will be responsible for paying this period.