Many in Brazil find it tough to find work, while there are also lots of people who are taking on long hours for very little money. Studies have shown that those working in Brazil tend not to save as much of their income as their fellow workers in other countries, with the average Brazilian only saving around 10% of their monthly income. If you are a resident of Brazil and you are one of the many left without work and you are struggling to find a way to support yourself, there is an unemployment benefit scheme to help you through this hard time.
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The unemployment scheme in Brazil is run by the Worker Assistance Fund Advisory Council, and the benefits are paid by the government-run institution known as Caixa.
1. File a Claim
If you want to claim an unemployment benefit, you must do so within seven to 120 days of being without work. You can lodge this claim at any of the following places:
- a local branch of the federal bank, Caixa
- a Regional Work Delegation Office
- a National Employment System Office
To be able to claim the benefit, you will need to have worked for at least six consecutive months prior to becoming unemployed, though you do not have to have been with the same employer during this time. Also, you cannot be receiving any sort of income that could be deemed as sufficient to support yourself and any dependents.
3. What Documents do You Need?
When you lodge a claim, you will need to make sure you take along the following documents:
- a Requerimento do Seguro-Desemprego form, which you will receive from your previous employer
- your previous work contract
- a passport or your identity card
- your Individual Taxpayer’s Card
Once you have applied, you will be informed via post whether or not your application has been successful.
4. How Much Will You Get?
If your application is accepted, you will be able to collect your payments from your local Caixa branch. The amount you receive is calculated by looking at your average earnings during the last three months of your employment. If you were with different employers over those three months, the amount is then calculated by looking at your earnings in your last position. The minimum amount you can receive is equal to what the current minimum monthly wage in Brazil is.
The number of payments you receive is based on the number of months you have worked in the 36 month period prior to becoming unemployed: So if you were employed for:
- 6 - 11 months: 3 payments
- 12 - 23 months: 4 payments
- 24 - 36 months: 5 payments
5. If You're Unfairly Dismissed
Unfortunately there are cases where people are unfairly dismissed from their job. If this happens to you, and you want to receive the unemployment benefit, you will first need to go through legal proceedings. If it is decided that you were unfairly dismissed, and you had been at that job for at least six months, then you may be able to claim up to six payments that are calculated by looking at the average of your last three paychecks.
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The process of applying for unemployment benefits in Brazil is fairly straightforward. So if you find yourself struggling, never be afraid to reach out for help.