Help Brazil: Bolsonaro launches his aid program against poverty | International


A family in the 'Esperança' occupation in Osasco, Brazil.
A family in the ‘Esperança’ occupation in Osasco, Brazil.Victor Moriyama

The Government of Jair Bolsonaro begins to pay this Wednesday, November 17, the Brazil Aid, which replaces the Bolsa Familia. Criticisms and uncertainties regarding the new social policy are many, as it is trying to hastily replace, with few studies, a program that has been applied successfully in the last 18 years. According to the explanations of the president of the state financial company Caixa, Pedro Guimarães, the beneficiaries of Bolsa Familia should not worry about the transition, as it will be automatic. “No need to register again. We will use the same registry as the Bolsa Familia ”, stated Guimarães. It is estimated that the program will reach 14.5 million families, which, at first, will charge an average of 224.41 reais (41 dollars), according to the Ministry of Citizenship. The expectation is that in December it will reach 17 million families who will be paid an average of 400 reais (73 dollars).

The program is managed by the Ministry of Citizenship and DataPrev (Social Security Information and Technology Company), which will reevaluate it every month. La Caixa, which is solely responsible for paying the benefit, has created two applications, Caixa Tem and Auxilio Brasil, through which beneficiaries can check how much and when they charge. Through Caixa Tem, it is also possible to pay utility bills, make transfers and make purchases with a virtual debit card, as could already be done with the emergency aid that the Government distributed during the pandemic.

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According to Guimarães, the payment schedule will also be the same as that of Bolsa Familia: it is charged from the last 10 business days of the month, between January and November. This month, the payment begins on the 17th for beneficiaries whose Social Identification Number (NIS) ends in 1 and goes until the 30th. In December, the payment will be made between the 10th and the 23rd.

The Bolsa Familia used to pay around 190 reais (35 dollars) to beneficiary families, but the Ministry of Citizenship has affirmed that the value has been readjusted by 17.84% in November, reaching 224.41 reais (41 dollars) on average. The government intends to grant an average benefit of 400 reais ($ 73) as of December, but the Ministry of Citizenship itself highlights the transitory nature of the program. On its website, it reports that the Government will offer “a supplement that will guarantee that each family receives at least 400 reais per month until December 2022,” the electoral year. Later, it is not known. This is one of the factors that generates insecurity for those who received the subsidy from the Bolsa Familia, which lasted 18 years.

Some 14.5 million families benefited from the old program, but the Ministry of Citizenship promises that from December the Help Brazil will reach 17 million families, that is, more than 50 million Brazilians. “In this way, we will include all those registered in the Unified Registry who are on the waiting list and who have the right to benefit from the program,” says the ministry. “The objective of the measure is that families living in poverty and extreme poverty can earn the highest possible value, to mitigate the effects of the socioeconomic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

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Differences with Bolsa Familia

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The text of the provisional measure MP 1.061 / 21 with which the Auxilio Brasil program was created, which Bolsonaro sent to the Chamber of Deputies on August 9, changes some conditions and adds others. The provisional measure also does not define the values ​​or the poverty criteria, leaving the government to decide, each year, the value of the subsidy. Congress had until early October to make changes to the measure and turn it into law, but ended up extending the deadline. As the measure has immediate validity, Auxilio Brasil is already in force.

However, Congress, which has been debating the creation of a universal basic income, may introduce changes to the program. Therefore, it is not yet known which elements of the text of the provisional measure will be kept and which will be changed. The Brazilian Basic Income Network criticized that the current design of the program creates a series of auxiliary benefits – “frilly”, according to experts – that create even more conditions for families to request it. For example, Auxilio Brasil offers a nursery voucher for families that demonstrate that they have a paid activity or a job, instead of focusing precisely on the unemployed, subverting the logic of Bolsa Familia in the fight against extreme poverty.

The program proposed by Bolsonaro also foresees a provision for Rural Productive Inclusion and another for Urban Productive Inclusion, aimed at rural workers and workers from large cities in activity. It also offers an aid to School Sports, for families of athletes, and a Junior Scientific Initiation Grant. “The provisional measure is cruel for creating categories of subsidies that depend on a scientific and sports performance that children and adolescents cannot glimpse in the current school network,” criticized the Brazilian Basic Income Network when the text was sent to Congress. The entity also points out that the measure imposes “on families, mostly headed by women, the responsibility of increasing their income in order to receive help to pay for a private nursery, linking the right of children to the professional conditions found by their parents.” .

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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