Social Security to pardon ‘old debts’

Old debts to Social Security – as long as they are not very large – are likely to be ‘pardoned’ next year.

As the moment draws near for presentation and parliamentary approval of the 2021 State Budget (OE 2021), details are starting to ‘leak out’ – showing PS Socialists have indeed taken on a number of demands from left-wing ‘allies’ Bloco de Esquerda, PCP communists and PEV (the greens).

Explain reports, “after three months of negotiations with the left, the document drawn up by finance minister João Leão focuses on strengthening social for the unemployed, single parent families, the self-employed, domestic and informal workers – some of the groups most hit by the economic effects of the pandemic”.

Aside from closing a blind eye to debts of over 20 years old, the government is also agreeing to taking back the railway repair and maintenance workers ‘sent home’ during the PSD/ CDS troika years, and has pledged to hire 3,000 more school janitors.

Debt amnesty

The plan is to pardon any debts that have remained ‘current’ after 20 years, as well as debts of under €50 that have been in place for 10 or more years.

Pandemic subsidy

Says Dinheiro Vivo, the budget draft document that it has seen presents the plan for an extraordinary social subsidy to help families who have lost income as a result of the crisis.

Unemployment boost

Minimum unemployment payment is set to rise from the current €438.81 to €505, while creche access for families in need will be free from the outset (instead of simply from the second child).

Pensions increase

To come in August, in line with the last four State Budgets and be €10 or €6, depending on pension size.

Railway workers ‘return’

All former railway workers who maintained/ repaired trains are to be rehired by depots, maintaining the pensions they are currently earning to which up to 75% of the wage “corresponding to their respective category” will be paid.

Renewed contracts

4,200 professionals hired for the SNS health service will see their contracts renewed, along with access to a “risk subsidy” of €219.40 to be paid every two months.
The sector itself is to see €90 million invested in improving facilities and equipment in health centres; €19 million going on a national plan for mental health; €27.7 million going on strengthening continuous and palliative care systems (including creating more beds/ spaces) and just over €30 million on creating two new hospitals (in the Alentejo and Seixal, near Lisbon).

Houses for police

The government means to “guarantee suitable housing for ‘displaced’ security agents at the start of their careers: €10 million to be invested.

Hotel credits

This idea allows the consumer to ‘accumulate’ credits corresponding to the IVA spent in the hotel / leisure/ culture/ restaurant sectors, and then use these credits in the same sectors later in the year.

Further information on the contents of the OE2021 will be appearing throughout the week. Reports this morning suggest, in spite of the three months of negotiations, Bloco de Esquerda ‘coordinator’ Catarina Martins is still not convinced.

She told reporters today that even in its current form, she doesn’t believe her party will be able to give the document its thumbs-up.

Says Expresso, the details are all subject to possible alterations if the government deems these are necessary.

image: finance minister João Leão