By Richard Mann, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The Brazilian Senate approved yesterday, June 3rd, Provisional Measure (MP) 871/2019, aimed at combating fraud in the social security system and making rules for social security benefits stricter. The MP was approved on its last day before it expired and is now up for presidential sanction.
On a Monday, an atypical day for plenary voting, 68 senators were present. Of these, 55 voted for the MP and twelve against. Chamber President Davi Alcolumbre (DEM) did not vote.
The text approved establishes a program to review benefits showing irregularities and authorizes bonus payouts to employees of the Social Security Administration (INSS) for each case analyzed on overtime.
The proposal requires a rural worker registry compiled by the government, no longer by the unions, and limits the payment of prisoner family aid exclusively to cases of imprisonment in penitentiaries.
The text also provides that the INSS will have access to transaction data from the Federal Treasury Department, the Unified Health System (SUS) and the Severance Reserve Fund (FGTS).
The government estimates that the measure will save R$10 (US$2.5) billion per year. There are indications of irregularities in sick pay, retirement due to disability, and Continuing Benefits Provision (BPC).
Should there be any evidence of irregularity, the beneficiary will have 30 days to submit a defense. Rural workers, family farmers, and special insured workers will be entitled to 60 days to submit a defense.
If no defense is submitted within the deadline or if it is considered insufficient, the benefit will be suspended and an appeal may be filed within 30 days.
The Senate opposition bloc, composed of Rede, Cidadania, Democratic Labour Party (PDT) and Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB), reached an agreement with the government leader, Fernando Bezerra MDB, to have a quorum and thus avoid coming to a vote.