Although over 33 million Brazilians have already received the Covid-19 emergency salary of BRL 600 (USD 107) approved by the federal government, many more still are struggling to access this benefit. The government-owned bank Caixa — which processes the payments — claims around 7 of 45.9 million of the stipend requests are still pending approval. The delays in the payment have led thousands of people to ask for information at Caixa bank branches, potentially exposing themselves to the coronavirus.
Besides the problems with enrollment, the Citizenship Ministry has postponed the payment of the second of what were scheduled to be three BRL 600 installments. A day later, Caixa chief executive officer Pedro Guimarães said during a Facebook live broadcast alongside President Jair Bolsonaro that around 60 million people could eventually end up applying for the emergency salary. A previous study estimated that there were around 42 million Brazilians eligible for the emergency salary. “There is enough for the first payment — in fact, for all of them — but more people applied than anyone would ever imagine, we will have to increase the budget,” Mr. Guimarães explained.