Brazil's Economic Team Stymies Expansion of Bolsa Familia

New proposal prioritizes lower income, but economic team resists and wants more modest version

The Bolsa Familia reform plan provides for a focused increase in the range of families in extreme poverty.
Although directed to the neediest group, the project displeases the economic team, which advocates an even more modest version for changes in the social program.

In 2019, President Jair Bolsonaro did not grant the inflation benefit adjustment to fulfill his promise to create the 13th installment.

Jair Bolsonaro and Paulo Guedes. (Foto: Pedro Ladeira/Folhapress) - Folhapress

The idea now is to prioritize the lower-income tier, which represents two-thirds of the 13 million families included in the program.

Bolsa Família serves people living in extreme poverty, with per capita income of up to R$ 89 per month, and poverty, with income between R$ 89,01 and R$ 178 per month.

The amount received varies according to the number of family members, age, and income. Currently, the average is approximately R$ 191.

Prepared by the Ministry of Citizenship and the Civil House, the initial proposal for reformulation would raise the program budget by R$ 16 billion.

With the resistance of the team of Economy Minister Paulo Guedes, the project had to be reformulated. The political core of the government considers that the minimum expansion should be R$ 10 billion, since, by 2020, fewer resources are foreseen for the program than last year.