Unconditional to conditional rights: counterparts in Brazil's Family Allowance Program

This paper analyzes the concepts and challenges of the counterpart contributions demanded by Brazil's Family Allowance Program, which requires mandatory school attendance for children and adolescents, and healthcare for children, pregnant women and breast-feeding mothers. These issues are prompting much discussion in Brazil and elsewhere in the world. This study charts theoretical aspects that underpin arguments for and against conditional cash transfer programs, through a review and systematization of the literature and a study of the related legislation. This analysis demonstrates that the opponents of counterpart obligations claim they breach unconditional rights to citizenship. Some supporters of these conditional transfers believe that a return is required for these benefits, while others see such requirements as a strategy for ensuring easier access to social welfare services, thereby breaking away from the cycle of poverty. Although latter view is present in Brazil's original Family Allowance Program, the manner in which supplementary legislation defines the application of the conditions is coercive and remote from the concept of social insertion.

Social policy; Conditional income transfers; Social welfare


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