The President of Chile, Sebastián Piñera, launched the payment of the Emergency Family Income, a benefit for vulnerable families who rely on informal earnings and who have been adversely affected by the economic situation caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The first automatic payment to 499,000 families took place on Saturday, reaching a total of almost 1.8 million people. A total of 1.2 million families, comprising 3 million people, will receive the Emergency Family Income on June 10, covering the first of the three months that this benefit will be paid.
The second and third payments of the Emergency Family Income will take place 30 and 60 days after the first payment.
"We are a community, one big family. And a family never abandons any of its members,” the President said. He was speaking at a ceremony at La Moneda Palace, where he was accompanied by Treasury Minister Ignacio Briones, and Social Development Minister Sebastián Sichel.
The President highlighted, "thanks to the dedication and commitment of many public officials, we have been able to bring forward the payment of this benefit."
The Emergency Family Income will benefit the households that are among the 60% most vulnerable and whose income comes mainly from informal work.
The amount paid will depend on the size of the family. It will be 260,000 Chilean pesos (around US$322) for a family of four, and 345,000 Chilean pesos (US$427) for a family of six, for households that are totally reliant on informal work.
The income will also be paid to any family that has been classified through the Social Registry of Households Socioeconomic Evaluation as among the 80% poorest in Chile, who do not meet the requirements described above, but include at least one adult over 70 years old receiving the Basic Solidarity Pension (Pensión Básica Solidaria, PBS). This will benefit 244,000 families.
The benefit will last for three months. In the first month, families will receive 100% of the amount to which they are entitled, according to family size; in the second month, they will receive 85% of this figure, and in the third month, they will receive 70%.
"Our Government’s main priority, concern and occupation during these difficult times for our country has been to protect every Chilean family, but with special care and affection for the most vulnerable and middle class families,” the President said.
This benefit will go directly into their pocket and will not be subject to any retention. The total cost to the Treasury will exceed US$830 million over these three months.
The President highlighted the creation of a Social Protection Network that has already reached 10 million Chileans, with measures such as the Emergency Family Income, the Covid-19 Bonus, the Employment Protection Law, the accelerated refund of withholding taxes for people who issue boletas de honorarios (invoices for services rendered), and loans for companies that require liquidity to address the financial impact of the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Furthermore, on Friday the Alimentos para Chile” (Food for Chile) program began to distribute baskets containing non-perishable food and hygiene products to 2.5 million families and 8 million people throughout the country.
"We know that these food baskets don't solve all the problems. But we do know that they represent urgent, necessary and deserved relief for millions of Chilean families,” the President remarked, highlighting the Government's commitment to speeding up the delivery of these baskets.
“We are a community, one big family. And a family never abandons any of its members. All presidents must behave like a good parent; they must care for all their children, but be particularly concerned for the most vulnerable and those who need it most,” the President concluded.