irregular emergency aid payments totaled R $ 54.66 billion in 2020

Application to receive emergency aid from the Federal Government
Photo: Marcelo Camargo / Agência Brasil (21.Jul.2020)

The Federal Court of Accounts (TCU) estimates that 7.3 million people may have received emergency aid in an irregular manner and that another 6.4 million women may have been awarded double the quota without deserving it. Undue payments were estimated at R $ 54.66 billion – about 18% of the R $ 293 billion actually allocated to the program last year.

The final balance of inspections on emergency aid was released on Wednesday (24), by the court of accounts. The technicians drew attention to the fact that the amount unduly disbursed by the union would be enough to pay for three additional installments of R $ 300 to 60 million Brazilians.

Currently, a new round of aid is under discussion, with four installments of R $ 250 to up to 40 million Brazilians. After resisting the re-launch of the benefit, the economic team has tried to limit its scope to contain the fiscal impact, since the expenditure will be covered with more public debt issuance and will remain outside the spending ceiling (which limits the advance of expenses to inflation) .

Since the start of the aid implementation, news of undue payments has revolted society. People with higher income and even civil and military servants were caught receiving the benefit, triggering inspections by the control bodies.

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The aid was intended to help people with a family income of up to R $ 522.50 per person (equivalent to ¼ of the minimum wage in 2020), but TCU estimates that 7.3 million families are outside this target audience criterion . The calculations were made from the crossing of the aid information with the database of the Continuous Pnad of 2019, an IBGE survey that brings the data declared by the families themselves on employment and income.

It is also estimated that 8 million people received the aid even when they already exceeded the limit of up to two contemplated family members.

Over the past few months, TCU has supplied the government with data crossings that have made possible the timely cancellation of some benefits. According to the report, 3.7 million irregular benefits were effectively detected, saving R $ 8.8 billion.

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“The irregularities concern people who had formal employment, another federal benefit or did not comply with income limits and members per family that they can receive. The database also included people who died or live outside Brazil,” says TCU.

In theory, this contingent would be within the 7.3 million undue payments that were estimated, but the technicians of the court of accounts consider that the forecast itself is conservative, as an adjustment was made to the data considering the abrupt drop in the income of formal workers . If income fell less than estimated in this adjustment, more people may have received it in error.

The proof of this is that the cancellation data runs until August, when the emergency aid had 64.9 million beneficiaries. In December, the residual emergency aid had 56.8 million beneficiaries. That is, there were at least 8 million between September and December.

To help solve the problem of undue payments, TCU made determinations and recommendations to tackle the causes, in particular the insufficiency of the databases, the flaws in the eligibility rules, the self-declaration of income and family composition information, and also the non-periodic verification of legal requirements.

The TCU also determined that the Ministry of Citizenship, on a monthly basis, check whether the beneficiaries remain without formal employment or without receiving any other federal benefit.

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