Which disability?: medical evaluation and social assistance in Brazil

This article examines the concept of disability adopted by the most important cash transfer program targeting the disabled population in Brazil, the Continuous Cash Benefit (Benefício de Prestação Continuada - BPC). The study compares the eligibility criteria established by law and the criteria used by medical examiners in the beneficiary selection process. The data are from a sample survey of 16% of the medical examiners working in the program. The questionnaire aims to assess the instructions, forms, and procedures for selecting disabled beneficiaries. The results show a discrepancy between the formal program criteria and actual practice by the examiners, suggesting an expanded concept of disability aimed at including beneficiaries with genetic, chronic, and severe infectious diseases.

Social Assistance; Disabled Persons; Social Security

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