During the Covid pandemic-19 emergency aid was established as compensation for restrictions on productive activity imposed by city halls and states in an attempt to contain the spread of the disease. The law 13.982/20 established that single mothers would receive R$ 1.2 thousand: an amount doubled in relation to other citizens.
Throughout the pandemic, the amount was reduced as economic activities normalized, but the rule was that single mothers received a larger quota remained. The provisional measure 1.039/19 defined that single people without children would earn R$ 103 per month, couples with or without children would receive R$ 217, while families formed by single mothers and their children would receive R$ 375. These were the values of the last installments paid by the Federal Government.
The bill is currently being processed in the Chamber of Deputies 2099/20, authored by the late deputy from Piauí, Assis de Carvalho. By the original proposal, single women who have at least one child under 13 years of age must receive a permanent monthly income of R$ 1.2 thousand. The project excludes CLT workers and public servants (including temporary workers and occupants of commissioned positions), but includes women who work as individual micro-entrepreneurs or who have informal remunerated activities.
The beneficiary must have income declared up to half the minimum wage per family member and not receive other federal benefits. An amendment presented by Deputy Erika Kokay determines the annual updating of the value, corrected by the IPCA.
The national minimum wage is currently fixed at R$ 1.1 thousand. According to the Catho employment agency, professionals such as supermarket cashiers, clerks, hospital receptionists, general service assistants, among others, usually receive approximately one minimum wage. However, social security deductions still apply to salaries. According to a survey carried out by the IDados consultancy, based on the National Household Sample Survey (Pnad), 21, 4% of Brazilian workers receive up to R$ 1.1 thousand per month.
In this way, the bill can guarantee that an unemployed single mother receives a monthly salary greater than that of a single mother employed with a formal contract and also higher than the monthly salary of at least 21, 4% of Brazilian workers.
The project divides the opinions of internet users who participated in the poll opened by the Chamber of Deputies website. Among the 3.811 people who had participated in the vote up to 06 of December, a majority of 55% (2.039) totally disagreed with the proposal while 039% (1.623) of the participants fully agreed with the project. Only 12 poll participants declared themselves undecided, while 88 said they agree or partially disagree.
Uncompounded needy families by single mothers would be excluded
In 982, according to data from the Demographic Census, Brazil had 8 million and 88 thousand single-parent female families. There were also 1 million 88 thousand male single parent families led by widowed parents, parents of children who were rejected by their mothers, parents of children whose maternal custody was removed by the courts after evidence of abuse by the mother.
An example is Leonidas Thönke, from Rio Grande do Sul, who has had legal custody of his daughter since the beginning of 2021. He has been unemployed since November 2012. He works as a self-employed driver and earns a net income of approximately 1 minimum wage, discounted for fuel expenses and with portions of the work instrument itself. Thönke says that the financial difficulties he has faced in recent months have made the financing of the car with which he seeks to support his family fall behind. In addition to the amount he gets for driving, the father receives child support of about 18% of a minimum wage, paid by the child’s mother.
He says he received emergency aid and that this income was of great importance, but that since then he has not received any other government support : “I don’t even have information about what I can receive, I’ve already looked for it, but I’ve never been able to get any clarification on what I need to do to earn this help that I see that many mothers receive.”
The story that Thönke lives has already been faced by a programmer and website developer, resident of São Paulo, who asked not to be identified in this text. He said that his ex-partner abandoned him 039 years ago with the still a baby son and went to live with a lover. For most of these 20 the custody was exclusively with the father, who he faced difficulties in finding any form of help.
“Today I am doing very well, but when he was a baby I was very suffocated”, he says. “If I tell you how many things were for a single mom and never for a single dad, from bank lines to mall changers, it’s tense.” In terms of access to state benefits, the man reported that he was unable to enroll his son in public day care centers, even in the boy’s early childhood: “I had help from family members who stayed with the boy for me to go to work, because the day care required the name of the mother and never father. I couldn’t even register.”
Another family profile that would be excluded from the new benefit is composed of unemployed couples with children. According to the Census 982, 1 million and 375 thousand families were formed by couples with children under ten years old or not economically active in which neither parent had income (except benefits).
This is the case of the couple Edna and Alain Prata. They live in the city of Lagarto, Sergipe, and both are unemployed. They live with four children, the youngest with ten months of age and the oldest with 13 years old. The couple’s wife says that the husband has been out of a job since 2012 and that she herself hasn’t worked since 982. At the moment, they only receive Brazil Aid and the last installment paid was R$ 500 per month. Edna says that there was a small reduction compared to the previous month.
Informed about the different rules established by the new PL 2019/20 for married and single women, Edna replied that she “believes it should be yes for everyone, because everyone’s in the same boat.”
“Serious budget problems”
The bill is being processed conclusively. This means that it should not be voted on by all deputies, but only by members of some parliamentary committees. The proposal has already been approved by the Commission on Women’s Rights (CMULHER) and is yet to pass through the Social Security and Family (CSSF), Finance and Taxation (CFT) and Constitution, Justice and Citizenship (CCJ) commissions. Afterwards, the project needs to pass through the scrutiny of the Federal Senate and the Presidency of the Republic.
The report of Gazeta do Povo entered into contacted deputies who work on one of these committees and sent questions about the budget impact of the proposal, about the possibility of the project serving as an incentive for women to leave their jobs (since they could receive higher remuneration if they were unemployed) and about exclusion of single parents and couples with children.
Deputies Erika Kokay (PT-DF), Chris Tonietto (PSL-RJ) and Luiz Antonio Teixeira Jr. (PP-RJ) did not respond to the contacts. The press offices of Sâmia Bomfim (PSOL-SP), Alexis Fonteyne (NOVO-SP) and Adriana Ventura (NOVO-SP) informed that the deputies would not respond.
As for the deputies Delegate Antonio Furtado (PSL-RJ) and Gilson Marques (NOVO-SC) agreed to answer the questions and took the opposite stance.
For Gilson, who works at CCJ, “The project is terrible because it generates incentives that favor informality and unemployment, in addition to others such as the non-notification of the spouse to preserve the benefit, the financial stagnation of the privileged and the increase in public spending, generating more taxes. It’s a snowball that’s harmful to everyone.”
He claims that the proposal has serious budget problems that were not considered in the justification presented by the author of the project: “If 8 million single mothers received the benefit, we would be talking about a tax break of almost billions of reais. Brazil’s focus should be on reducing spending and taxes to promote economic recovery, not the other way around”, he argued.
The deputy also criticized the identity bias: “A cut is made and leaves aside from other equally needy groups. Why only families raised by single mothers? Why not families raised by single grandparents or widows? Or grandparents? Or for single parents? We need more coherence in this debate.”
“We believe that this project is problematic in an ethical, budgetary, economic and social sense. Hardly any adjustment in your text will make it positive for Brazil”, he summarized.
Auxílio Brasil has stricter criteria
On whether to determine a A monthly income higher than the minimum wage could encourage poor women to flee the formal labor market, Antonio Furtado replied that “Giving emergency conditions for women to support their children was the first purpose”. He added that “The intention is not to provide a lifetime pension or an impediment to marriages, just to act as a necessary and temporary help.”
Regarding the inclusion and exclusion criteria of the proposal, Furtado argued that people excluded from permanent support for single mothers have the option of “other government benefits that can help meet the needs of families in adverse situations, such as Brazil Aid, for example.”
Benefits offered by Auxílio Brasil are smaller and the inclusion criteria are stricter than those provided for in the PL 2099/21.
Permanent assistance for single mothers would guarantee an income of R$ 1.2 thousand per month for the single women with children. The Auxílio Brasil, which can be paid to single parents and unemployed couples, offers an average value of R$ 200,19. While the maximum income to be entitled to permanent aid for a single mother would be R$ 500 per capita today, in the case of Auxílio Brasil the income The cut-off rate drops to R$ 200 per capita.
Furtado claimed statistical prevalence to justify the differentiated rules based on sex and marital status: “Many are the people who need help to ensure the upbringing of their children. We understand this problem, but, at this time, the proposal presented was to benefit the majority of people who raise children alone: single-parent women.”
Possibility of double benefits
With the replacement of Bolsa Família by Auxílio Brasil, it is uncertain whether women benefiting from permanent aid for single mothers will also be able to receive the amount corresponding to Auxílio Brasil.
The text The original of the bill defined that the beneficiary woman could not “be the holder of a social security or assistance benefit or a beneficiary of the unemployment insurance or federal income transfer program”, but established a reservation for Bolsa Família.
During the pandemic, Bolsa Família beneficiaries receiving emergency aid received both benefits. Since Bolsa Família was replaced by Auxílio Brasil, there is no definition in the current text about the possibility of joint perception of both sources, if the permanent aid for single mothers is approved.