The Social welfare (Previdência Social) covers illness, disability, maternity, unemployment pensions and death. In theory, the benefits are very high and would normally offer sufficient security.
Yet for low-pay workers, whose wages are just enough to survive, the payments they receive in case of illness or unemployment are not sufficient. In addition, as the number of low-pay workers rises and the social security benefits conform to these low wages, the budget does not stretch to adequately cover all the beneficiaries.
The employee's contribution to the social security scheme is between 8% and 11% of their monthly salary. The employer's participation amounts to 12%. Self-employers contribute during the first 3 years of their business with 10%. After that period the contribution rises to 20% according to a base salary as estimated by the social security system.
If you are an employee, your contribution to social security will be deducted automatically from your monthly salary. Self-employed workers have to register and pay their contribution each month in person.
Registration to social security for self-employed workers
You can sign up for Social Welfare either by telephone (Tel: 135) or online. Keep your RNE (Registro Nacional de Estrangeiro) and your CPF (Cadastro de Pessoa Física) number ready during the registration process. You will then be given a registration number and a payment code (código de pagamento) which determines the amount of your contribution.
In order to pay your monthly contribution you have to buy a Guia da Previdência Social (GPS), available in magazine shops, and make your payments at a Caixa (the government's financial institution), a branch of Banco do Brasil or lottery shops (lotéria). For the payments use carbon copy pages of your GPS booklet.
Each employee can claim unemployment benefits provided they have worked continuously for at least six months prior to unemployment. To claim unemployment benefit go to a branch of Caixa, an office of the Delegacia Regional do Trabalho (office of the Ministry of Labour and Employment) or an office of the Sistema Nacional de Emprego (National Employment system). Your employer will give you a form stating your dismissal which you have to submit together with your passport, your CPF number and your work contract.
An employer's contribution to unemployment insurance is 8% of the pre-tax monthly salary.
Sickness and disability benefits
An employee is entitled to sickness or disability benefits after 12 months of contributing to the social security scheme (except temporary sickness which does not require a minimum contribution). The benefits depend on whether the sickness is temporary, long-term or if it is a permanent disability.
During a temporary incapacity the beneficiary gets 50% of his monthly salary. If the sickness/injury prevents the beneficiary from work for more than 15 days, he is eligible to a benefit of 91% of his monthly salary.
Workers, who through work-related illness or injury are no longer able to work, are entitled to disability benefits. These amount to 100% of the beneficiary's monthly salary and are raised by another 25% if the beneficiary requires a caretaker.
Pregnant women are eligible for maternity benefits from the eighth month of pregnancy. They are entitled to 180 paid days during the maternity leave. Women who adopt a child are also eligible to benefits of 120 paid days, although this is gradually reduced if the child is older than 12 months.
Men over 65 and women over 60 are entitled to pension benefits. The pension benefits amount to 70% of the beneficiary's average monthly salary and increases gradually every 12 months by 1% up to a maximum of 100%.