Portugal’s AERT programme, standing for ‘extraordinary support to workers’ income’, is being extended to take in people affected since January this year.
The news came this morning from labour minister Ana Mendes Godinho and in the wake of political uproar generated last week when the government ‘challenged’ the constitutionality of three diplomas designed to help thousands who haven’t been able to get the support they need (click here).
Said Ms Mendes Godinho: “We want to guarantee that the falls in income felt as a result of the 2020/ 2021 confinement are taken into account for the definition of support and with payments with retroactive effects, to guarantee that whoever asked (for help) in January and did not receive it is covered”.
The minister added that people who couldn’t prove income in 2019 to show how their 2020/ 2021 income had been affected also have “a way of being covered”.
This development is almost certainly due to the ‘bad press’ received in what for all intents and purposes read as a Socialist government refusing financial support to those who most needed it (click here).
But whether it actually translates into anything very effective is another matter.
Explain reports, AERT “involves a support of between €50 and €501.16 “being subject to the condition of resources, in most situations”.
During the hearing in parliament, Ms Mendes Godinho said the government is preparing a new mechanism “for simplifying installment payments for settling debts to Social Security” no longer requiring guarantees. There is now a form of ‘tacit granting’ underway, she explained, to move things along more rapidly.
The minister took the occasion to re-emphasise the explanations given last week by PM António Costa – that Social Security has already spent millions more than it usually does in three months in response to the needs thrown up by the government’s pandemic-led restrictions.
Since January, she said, a total of €951 million has been paid out to people, which translates into “59% more than the average (Social Security) monthly expenditure in 2020”.
Social Services have up till now received 60,000 requests for help under the AERT programme, 39,000 of which were approved and 21,000 of which remain ‘under analysis’.