The severe impacts of Covid-19 on vulnerable populations has reignited a longstanding debate on social security in Brazil. Though initially repelled by the administration of President Jair Bolsonaro, the federal government’s coronavirus emergency salary proved to be essential in preserving the income of vulnerable populations and sustaining consumption, avoiding what would have been an even more severe economic collapse due to the pandemic.
And crucially it has opened the eyes of politicians from all ends of the political spectrum to the need to extend Brazil’s social protection network.
The emergency coronavirus salary initially paid out BRL 600 (USD 106) each month to informal workers and the unemployed, and 72 percent of the population now hope the program will be extended into 2021. However, all proposals to this end come up against one huge stumbling block: the collapse of Brazil’s public accounts.