This short paper aims to answer this question by assessing the evidence on Brazil’s social security system. It will examine the beneficiary numbers, budgets, levels of benefits and, importantly, impacts and coverage of the main social security schemes in Brazil. This paper will reveal that the real hero driving down poverty and inequality in Brazil is the old age pension paid at the level of the minimum wage.
The evil sibling of the Minimum Wage Pension – the Civil Service pension – takes on the role of the villain in our story. The paper will also examine proposals to transform Bolsa Familia – currently an old fashioned poor relief programme – into a real hero of social security, in other words a truly progressive entitlement-based scheme.