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Friday 21.09.2018 | Name days: Matīss, Modris, Mariss
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Disabled people might have to choose – pension or benefit

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From now on people with disabilities might have to make a choice – whether to receive a disability pension or unemployment benefit in case of job loss, according to the proposal by the Welfare Ministry.

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUThe Welfare Ministry’s officials indicate disabled people should receive only one benefit, while those likely to be affected by the proposal consider it discriminatory, reports the newspaper Neatkarīgā Rīta Avīze.

This sickens me, because the Welfare Ministry should be the one defending the rights of disabled people. It would be less surprising if the Finance Ministry came up with expenditure cuts, says the Saeima deputy Māris Dzelzskalns, who he himself has to use a wheelchair for transportation and has previously worked at the Welfare Ministry.

Currently, employed disabled persons are eligible for invalidity pension and unemployment benefit. According to the Welfare Ministry’s prepared amendments to the Pension Law, the payment of invalidity pension will be suspended for a while to persons choosing to receive the unemployment benefit.

Dzelzskalns points out this proposal is discriminatory, because it is already difficult for people with disabilities to find a job and if for some reason it is lost, the income will drop dramatically, as there will be no salary and the person will be forced to choose between unemployment benefit and invalidity pension. Besides, the Welfare Ministry has not consulted the disabled organizations about these amendments.

The Welfare Ministry’s Deputy State Secretary Ingus Alliks recognizes the amendments were not aligned. However, this is not a new approach to social insurance. When a person encounters a social risk, he receives one benefit and can select which one. Alliks indicates identical provisions have been adopted also previously. Currently, the unemployment benefit cannot be received together with other social insurance services, such as service and old age pension, sickness benefit and others.

Yet, working pensioners, who cannot receive unemployment benefit, are not insured against unemployment (they have not paid social contributions directly for unemployment). While employed persons with disabilities are insured against job loss. Alliks points out if disabled people did not have to pay the contribution interest, they would not have the possibility to choose.

The Saeima Social and Employment Affairs Committee expects broad discussions; however, it looks like the Committee might not support such a proposal.

 


Leave a reply

  1. Ruth.lt says:

    That’s seems wrong to spare the choice.

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