The government wants low-income people with disabilities, who receive the BPC, to enter the formal labor market. Today, these beneficiaries stop receiving social assistance if they sign an employment contract.
The idea is to pay half of the BPC (continuous payment benefit) to these people when they find a job for up to two minimum wages (R$ 2,200).
The change was embedded in an interim measure already approved by Congress and is expected to be sanctioned by President Jair Bolsonaro in June.
The BPC is aimed at the low-income population over 65 or people with disabilities who fall into the program’s income bracket. The monthly benefit is equivalent to one minimum wage (R$1,100).
The mechanism to encourage formal work for this audience was designed for those who receive the BPC because of disability. It is called inclusion aid.
The amount of the aid, according to the government’s argument, will be added to the salary on the work card. Then, the person with a disability will receive more than the income if they remain with the full BPC. This should reduce BPC spending, but the government has not yet informed the measure’s impact.
Federal law requires companies with one hundred or more employees to hold 2% to 5% of their positions with people with disabilities.
With this, the economic team expects that around 300,000 vacancies for workers with disabilities will be filled. Currently, according to government officials, companies are struggling to meet the quota of these hirings.
This same model of reducing, rather than zeroing, the social benefit when a person enters the labor market must be proposed in the Bolsa Família reformulation project.
In the current format, the beneficiary leaves Bolsa Família when he gets a formal job and then, if he loses his employment contract, has difficulty returning to the program.
The idea is that, if he finds a formal job, he will continue to receive, for a specified period, part of the social assistance.
For members of the Ministry of Economy, the risk of losing program resources discourages people with disabilities or Bolsa Família beneficiaries from seeking access to the labor market.
However, Bolsa Família pays an average of R$191 per month — well below the minimum wage. The program aims to transfer income to people below the poverty and extreme poverty line.
Currently, the rule is a monthly income per person of up to R$89 (extreme poverty), regardless of family composition, or up to R$178 (poverty), for families with children or teenagers up to 17 years old.
In the case of BPC, the income range is R$275 per person in the family. This ceiling can rise to half the minimum wage (R$550) per member, but only in the case of a higher degree of disability.
This relaxation of the rule for receiving the BPC was approved by Congress through an MP (provisional measure) at the end of May. This was the same MP used by the base of the government to graft the proposal for inclusion aid to people with disabilities who receive the assistance benefit.
According to the text sent to Bolsonaro’s sanction, to maintain the inclusion allowance, the employment contract cannot exceed two minimum wages per month, and the person will be required to receive the BPC for more than five years.
As current legislation prevents the continuity of the benefit after entering the labor market, the government hopes that the measure will increase the employment level of people with disabilities. Searching for work is optional, not an imposition of the new rules.
Government data show that the participation of people with disabilities in the labor market has risen gradually, but it is still low in relation to the law’s requirements.
In 2014, about 36.3% of the vacancies reserved for these workers were occupied. The level rose to 50.6% in 2018.
A study by Ipea (Institute for Applied Economic Research) based on official data shows that the average income of people with disabilities who have a formal job is 10% lower than the total average.
On average, for example, 56% of workers received up to two minimum wages in 2019. In the case of people with some type of disability, this percentage was 60.1%.
The inclusion aid for those receiving the BPC is in the wake of changes promoted by the government to create “exit doors” from social programs, as called by Minister Paulo Guedes (Economy).
His team argues that these policies, including Bolsa Família, need to be reformulated so that beneficiaries are less dependent on cash transfers.
The proposal to expand and change the format of Bolsa Família must be presented by August. The project needs congressional approval.
Understand the BPC
Who receives the BPC
Low-income people aged 65 and over or low-income people with disabilities. Value is equivalent to one minimum wage (BRL 1,100)
how is today
Those who receive the BPC (R$ 1,100 per month) lose the right to the benefit if they get a formal job. At the end of the employment contract, you can request the BPC again
how is it
If the disabled person gets a formal job, the BPC value will drop by half (R$550). Therefore, this partial benefit will serve to increase income (in addition to salary). To maintain the partial BPC, the salary cannot exceed two minimum wages (R$ 2,200). The person will be required to have received the BPC for at least five years
is the number of disabled BPC beneficiaries
is the number of BPC beneficiaries by age
is the number of vacancies to be filled by people with disabilities in companies
Sources: Ministry of Economy, Ministry of Citizenship and IPEA