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Lottidi finds distortions in the connection between the disability allowance and the EEE

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Στρεβλoσεισ&sigma ;τη διασύνδεση του αναπηρικού ε π ι η Λοττiδ&eta?

The interconnection of the payment of the disability allowance with the minimum guaranteed income creates distortions, says the Commissioner of Administration Maria Stylianou Lottidis in her report, noting at the same time that public services, and especially those that have been appointed to serve the vulnerable groups of the population, should seek , within their discretion, to arrive at reasonable solutions and to avoid any inconvenience to citizens.

Specifically, as stated by "XX , on July 28, 2022, filed a complaint against the Welfare Benefits Administration Service (YDEP), in relation to the failure to make a decision on her application for the provision of Minimum Guaranteed Income (MIG) – Disability Allowance.

The findings of the report state that the complainant's husband, who is a cancer patient with a very serious health condition, on December 15, 2020 submitted an application for EEE. The application was rejected thirteen months later. Objection to the rejection was not considered because it was considered out of time.

In the meantime, an application for EEE was also submitted by her, in the context of which the complainant was referred to the TKEAA for a disability assessment and was judged as a person with a disability and entitled to EEE and disability allowance. The application in question does not seem to have ever been examined by the Ministry of Health, nor did the complainant or our Office receive any relevant information.

“And if it had been examined, it might was rejected for the same reason that her husband's application was also rejected, that is, due to the alienation of immovable property, which was not judged by the HYDEP to be imperative or necessary”, it is reported.

However, the alienation, it is noted in the report, concerned the roof of the main house of the complainant which was granted to her daughter, for the purposes of building her own house, and not for any other reason and the enjoyment of any benefit.

“It is obvious that in the event that the complainant had not proceeded with the donation in question to her daughter by signing a building permit, the immovable property that she would have owned would have been, again, only her main residence, given that her roof does not constitute separate immovable property and, therefore, the complainant would meet the conditions of the legislation for the provision of EEE”, it states.

“From the above, it firstly follows that the HYDEP breached its legal obligation to examine the complainant's application and indeed within a reasonable time, which implies an omission of due legal action and by extension a violation of the principle of legality”, it is added.

Given, in fact, that the complainant is a person with disabilities, the failure to examine and evaluate her request for financial support from the state also implies a violation of her right to an adequate standard of living and social protection, as enshrined in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

“I consider it appropriate, at this point, to reiterate my position that linking the payment of disability allowance to the minimum guaranteed income creates distortions, such as that found in the present case, and often leads to the deprivation of disabled people of a basic level of protection which will help them enjoy a standard of living comparable to that of people without disabilities and protect them from poverty and social exclusion,” the Commissioner for Management says in her report.

I expect, in this regard, he adds, that with the legislation, which is currently being prepared by the Deputy Ministry of Social Welfare, in consultation with the Cyprus Confederation of Organizations of the Disabled, the creation of a new framework will be ensured which will guarantee and protect to the maximum the right of of people with disabilities to an adequate standard of living and social protection.

With regard to the fact that the grant by the complainant to her daughter of the terrace of her main house was judged by the YDEP as an unforced/necessary alienation of immovable property and was considered as a reason for rejecting her husband's application, “on the one hand, there is a mistaken perception of what constitutes alienation of property since the roof is not separated from the rest of the property, when in fact it is granted as consent for the construction of a family home by the beneficiary's descendants (daughter), on the other hand it constitutes a particularly strict interpretation of the relevant legislation, which violates both the spirit of the Minimum Guaranteed Income and More Generally on Social Benefits Law, which aims to support socially vulnerable groups, as well as the principles of good administration, which impose on administrative bodies, to act in accordance with the sense of justice, so that when implementing the relevant legislative provisions in each specific case to avoid merciless and unjust solutions”.

“I repeat what was indicated above, that is, if the complainant had not proceeded with the donation in question, the immovable property she would have owned would still only be her main residence, given that her roof is not a separate immovable property, and therefore would meet the conditions of the legislation on the provision of EEE”, notes Ms. Lottidi.

Also, she adds, it is a common practice in the Cypriot reality that the terrace of a house to be given by parents to their children to build a house and it is very rare that it is sold to third parties.

“In the light of the above, I consider it appropriate to underline that public services, and especially those that have been assigned to serve the vulnerable groups of the population, should seek, within their discretion, to arrive at reasonable solutions and to they avoid any inconvenience to the citizens. They should apply the law individually, taking the facts of each case for the benefit of the citizens,” he points out.

In this case, he notes, the HYDEP failed to respond to the above, as it did not take into account real facts, namely that the “alienation” of property is not in essence an alienation but a grant to the couple's daughter of the “rooftop” for the construction of the residence, acting under a delusion.

The Commissioner recommends to remove any fallacy and injustice that within one month the application of the complainant and her husband for the provision of EEE, disability allowance and care allowance, be examined or /and be re-examined, taking into account the above findings, with the aim of providing her with the benefits for which they are entitled.

He emphasizes that this is a couple of people whose husband is a cancer patient with impaired health, and whose wife is a person with severe mobility difficulties, certified by the Department of Social Integration.

“Therefore, they have both increased financial needs, as well as the need to provide home care”, it is reported.

Source: KYPE

Source: reporter.com.cy

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