The President of the Republic, Carlos Alvarado, the Minister of Labor and Social Security, Geannina Dinarte, and the Minister of Human Development and Social Inclusion, Juan Luis Bermúdez, announced this thursday the start of the process of registering digital applications for the granting of the “Bono Proteger”, a three-month temporary financial aid that will be provided to people affected by the COVID-19 health emergency.

With a budget of ₡ 296 billion, this initiative seeks to provide temporary economic relief to the working population affected by COVID-19. Fired workers, those with reduced working hours or with a suspended contract, as well as independent, informal and temporary workers, may apply. Requests will only be made virtually through the protect.go.cr platform, created by the government.

The amount of the aid will depend on each particular situation. Those fired, with a suspended employment contract, with a workday reduced by 50% or more, independent and informal workers whose application has been approved will receive a bonus of ₡ 125 thousand per month for 3 months. Meanwhile, for those who suffered a reduction in their working hours by 50% or less, the amount will be ₡ 62,500 per month, for the same period. With this amount, it is expected to help 612,000 people, as well as 68,000 households in poverty.

In making the announcement at a virtual press conference, President Alvarado indicated that this is an exceptional effort to currently support thousands of working people and their families who have been impacted by the novel coronavirus.

The application will be free. No public institution will call by phone to request personal data, bank accounts, credit or debit card numbers, or send text messages of any kind. If any person receives a call or a text message requesting this information, they should alert the authorities using the toll-free 800-Denounce line (800-33686243).

For the exceptional cases of people who do not have connectivity, the support of technological facilitators selected by the Mixed Institute for Social Aid (IMAS) will be promoted, which will be announced promptly and who, in addition to informing the population, will allow access and support for the implementation of this procedure on an individual nature.

The hierarchy of Human Development and Executive President of IMAS, Juan Luis Bermúdez, indicated that this measure may also be applied by independent and informal workers who are affected by this pandemic. “A large part of the population that works temporarily or informally has fallen into a situation of conjunctural poverty due to the paralysis of the economy. Our objective is to leave no one behind, acting as a society responsible for protecting each other so get to the end of the COVID-19 curve together,” he said.

For applying to the Bono Proteger you must have your last identity document, sign an affidavit and have the IBAN number of your bank account (in your name and in Colones), as well as the supporting information about your employment involvement. If the person does not have a bank account, they can request it during the process in the same form.

If a person meets the requirements, the procedure to be followed is as follows:
-Login to the protect.go.cr platform, which will be the only channel to make a request.
-Read and sign an informed consent on the use of data that will be presented to you on the website so that the authorities can corroborate all the information in the different public institutions.
-Provide an affidavit that the information you will provide is true. For this, you will have the following possibilities: a) Print the affidavit, sign it by hand and attach a photograph of the document; b) Sign the affidavit with a digital signature and attach the document; c) Transcribe the sworn statement, sign it by hand and attach a photograph of the document.
-Provide the information required by the system to corroborate your employment involvement.
-Once the request has been made, you will wait for the resolution of your case, if it was accepted or rejected, which will be notified by a registered email.
-If the request is approved, the payment process will be carried out on a monthly basis.

Excluded from this benefit are workers in the public sector, pensioners of any regime, children under 15 years of age, those deprived of liberty, beneficiaries of care for families of the Social Protection Board, as well as people who receive more than ₡ 50 thousand for cash transfers from the State or who have a 100% paid job.

The origin of resources comes from the Mixed Institute of Social Aid (₡ 5 billion), from the Emergency Fund of the National Emergency Commission (₡ 12 billion) and from the Fund of the National Employment Program of the Ministry of Labor and Social Security (₡ 4 billion). Additional resources expected to be received from the extraordinary budget presented this Wednesday, that contains ₡ 150 billion for the Bond. If the legislative motions are approved, the total amount of the Extraordinary Budget would amount to ₡ 275 billion.

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