Emergency relief website and app are available; benefit extends to immigrants and refugees

Immigrants who meet the criteria defined by the government are also able to request the social benefit, which aims to mitigate the effects of the Covid-19

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Site e app do auxílio emergencial estão no ar; benefício se estende a imigrantes e refugiados
Caixa’s website and app are available for those elegible to ask for R$ 600-financial aid relief; app can be dowloaded by Android e iOS systems. (Photo: Rodrigo Borges Delfim/MigraMundo)

Written by Rodrigo Borges Delfim
Translated by Natalia Valverde

Read the Portuguese version here.
Read the Spanish version here.

The site and application of the Caixa Econômica Federal are already available for access to request the emergency assistance announced by the federal government. The benefit, which aims to mitigate the effects of the crisis generated by the coronavirus on the economy and income of low-income workers, also extends to immigrants and refugees living in Brazil.

The benefit must be requested via internet (https://auxilio.caixa.gov.br ) or by mobile application, available for Android and iOS devices – no other program or website should be downloaded or accessed to request the benefit.

The amount is R$ 600 and will be paid, initially, for three months. The period may be extended, depending on the effects of the pandemic.

Aid for immigrants and refugees

Although there is no mention of immigrants or refugees in the law regulating the benefit, there is no impediment to the adherence of those who meet the requirements for receipt.

Due to the high demand for the benefit, many users report instability in the portal and for downloading the application. The newspaper Agora reports that some workers are spending up to three hours to complete their registration.

Cepri (Center for the Protection of Refugees and Immigrants) of the Fundação Casa de Rui Barbosa, in Rio de Janeiro, also released material on its social networks informing about the launch of the platform and apps.

The Caixa also made the 111 telephone number available to answer questions about the emergency aid.

Who can get the benefit

The emergency aid, in the form of Law 13.982/2020, was sanctioned on the last day 2 by the federal government and appears in the following day’s edition of the Official Gazette.

To be eligible to receive the aid, the immigrant must meet one of the criteria listed below:

  • be the holder of an MEI (Individual Microentrepreneur);
  • be registered in the CadÚnico (Single Registry) until March 20 (the system went into maintenance after this date for adjustments);
  • have an average monthly income of up to half minimum wage per person, and up to 3 minimum wages per family;
  • be a taxpayer – individual or optional – of the General Regime of Social Security;

It still has to fit all the criteria below:

  • Being 18 years old or older;
  • have monthly income of up to half minimum wage (R$ 522.50) per person;
  • have a monthly income of up to 3 minimum wages (R$ 3,135) per family;
  • have no formal job;
  • not receiving social security or welfare benefits, unemployment insurance or other cash transfer program (except Bolsa Família).

For women who are mothers and heads of households, they may receive R$ 1,200 per month (the equivalent of two quotas), if they meet any of the criteria listed above.

Immigrants who do not have a registration in the CadÚnico must apply for the benefit through the new platform created by the government.

For those who already receive Bolsa Família, the benefit that has the highest value will be paid.

Immigrants are also entitled to emergency aid created by the government due to the coronavirus.

Imigrantes também tem direito a auxílio emergencial criado pelo governo devido ao coronavírus
Although there is no mention of immigrants or refugees in the law, there is no impediment to the adherence of those who meet the requirements (Photo: USP Imagens)

How will be the payment

The payment of the emergency aid will basically be through the Caixa Econômica Federal and the Banco do Brasil. Who already has an account in one of the two institutions and meets the benefit criteria will receive the amounts automatically.

Those who do not have an account at either bank will have a free digital account opened at Caixa Econômica Federal to receive the aid. It can be operated through the “Caixa TEM” application, available only for mobile phones with Android system (access here).

There is also the possibility of using lottery houses and Caixa agencies to receive the benefit. The guideline, however, is that these sites should be used as a last resort, due to the effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

According to a report in the Folha de S.Paulo newspaper, the government is still studying to include fintechs such as PagSeguro, Stone and PicPay among the channels for making payments.

Questão do CPF vira entrave para imigrantes solicitarem auxílio emergencial
Due to the high demand for the benefit, many users report instability in the portal and for downloading the application. (Photo: Marcello Casal Jr./Agência Brasil)

Schedule of payments

The government also released the schedule for payments of the three benefit installments, described below:

Part 1 – Scheduled to begin on Thursday (9), with account holders from Caixa and Banco do Brasil, and end next week, with clients from private banks and Caixa digital accounts;

Part 2 (from April 27 to 30)

– April 27 to be born in January, February and March

– April 28 to be born in April, May and June

– April 29 to be born in July, August and September

– April 30 to be born in October, November and December

Part 3 (from 26 to 29 May)

– May 26 for born in January, February and March

– 27 May for born in April, May and June

– 28 May for born in July, August and September

– May 29 to be born in October, November and December

**People who register after these dates and are accepted, will also receive the amounts that had already been released

Complications

Despite the new announcements, there are still points that may hinder access to the benefit.

One of them is the impossibility of cash withdrawal from the digital account, since the operation is done entirely by mobile phone. For an eventual withdrawal, the beneficiary would need to transfer the money to another account in another bank.

Another complicating factor is the use of emergency aid to promote various blows. Even before the launch of the official application and website there were already programs and fake links that used the benefit as a pretext to apply scams.

According to dfndr lab, PSafe’s digital security laboratory, 6.7 million people were victims of a scam with a false link to register for emergency aid since March.

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