Almost half of Brazilian homes received coronavirus emergency benefits

Almost half of Brazilian homes received coronavirus emergency benefits
Photo: Gustavo Mello SSA/Shutterstock

The government’s coronavirus emergency benefit program reached 43 percent of Brazilian homes in July, according to figures from the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics. This is a considerable increase from the 38.7 percent recorded in May. The benefits consist of an emergency salary paid to those who have lost their income during the pandemic, as well as a monetary allowance for workers who suffered Covid-19 related pay cuts. The emergency aid is set at BRL 600 (USD 116) per month, while the government pays out up to BRL 1,813 per worker, proportional to the size of pay cuts suffered.

In the Northeast, 59 percent of the homes received some form of financial assistance from the government, vastly outstripping Brazil’s South, where just 29.7 percent of families were paid either of the two benefits.

In income terms, the two poorest segments of Brazilian society were more likely to receive benefits, with over 80 percent of households living on incomes lower than BRL 150 being granted financial assistance.

Meanwhile, the IBGE shows that the share of workers on leave due to the pandemic has fallen. These employees made up 18.6 percent of the workforce in May and 14.2 percent in June, corresponding to 11.2 million people. The agribusiness sector was the least affected.

Emergency benefits has an effect on Bolsonaro’s popularity

President Jair Bolsonaro’s overall rejection rate has dropped from 50 to 45 percent in the past month. Factoring the margin of error of opinion polls into the equation, the improvement is not hugely significant, though it does indicate a positive trend for the president. Mauricio Moura, chief executive officer at polling company Ideia Big Data, told The Brazilian Report this increase in popularity was “thanks to the coronavirus emergency salary.”

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