The Sejm unanimously passed the Act on special solutions to maintain the validity of certain disability certificates and disability degree certificates. It assumes, among other things, the extension of the validity period of judgments until September 30, 2024, which would expire on June 30, 2024.
On Tuesday, the Sejm held the second reading of the parliamentary bill on special solutions to maintain the validity of certain disability certificates and disability degree certificates.
It contains provisions enabling appropriate time conditions to be maintained for the ongoing implementation of applications by the relevant disability assessment teams.
It assumes the extension of the validity period of decisions until September 30, 2024, the validity of which would expire on June 30, 2024. Additionally, parking cards remain valid if the decision granting social assistance benefits was issued in connection with a disability confirmed by the decision, people also have an extended right to receive benefits.
The situation will be similar in the case of the right to family benefits, benefits from the maintenance fund, benefits for caregivers and benefits to cover the costs of maintaining a child or an adult in foster care.
During the vote in the Sejm, the act was supported unanimously. 339 MPs voted. No one abstained.
Ombudsman and social organizations already in October 2023 drew attention to significant delays and bottlenecks when issuing new decisions within disability assessment teams.
They lasted up to 8 months and resulted in the loss of benefits and forms of support, e.g. university scholarships, parking cards and care benefits. As a result, many people are left without any means of subsistence.
During the second reading, Iwona Hartwich (KO) stated that her club would strive for a systemic solution to the problems, not to apply subsequent band-aids. She also appealed to the head of the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy to proceed as quickly as possible with the draft law on social pensions. She pointed out that the current social pension for a person unable to work is PLN 1,445.
Agnieszka Kłopotek (PSL) drew attention to the “underestimation of the costs of functioning of District Disability Assessment Teams”.
Agnieszka Dziemianowicz-Bąk, head of the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy, said that after the project comes into force, we will have time for systemic solutions that will not allow this type of situation to repeat itself.
– We are already starting work on amending the regulation of the Minister of Family, Labor and Social Policy on the determination of disability and the degree of disability, including the rules for submitting applications for the issuance of subsequent disability decisions. This includes extending the time for submitting such applications so that the date can be planned in advance, she added.
In the justification to the draft act, it was noted that “the increasing waiting time for the issuance of decisions by disability assessment teams, and the extensions introduced by the Covid Act and the amending Act will not eliminate the risk of losing rights depending on the validity of these decisions.”
Extension of validity of judgments
This situation particularly concerns people whose judgments expired after August 5, 2023, and the adjudicating teams did not manage to set a date for the team’s meeting in time, because these people lost access to benefits and often their only source of income.
It was noted that people whose judgments will expire after December 31, 2023 and after further extension dates will soon be in a similarly difficult situation.
In the opinion of the project authors, “the number of applications for issuing a disability certificate will increase significantly from the moment the Act on Support Benefits enters into force, i.e. from January 1, 2024. This will be due to the fact that seniors will be able to apply for support benefits, and The requirement to apply for it is to have a certificate of the degree of disability, which many seniors (despite meeting the conditions) have not applied for so far.
It was noted that extending the validity of the decisions as a whole will create the minimum time space necessary to eliminate bottlenecks in the work of disability assessment teams and return to current rulings.
On December 13, the project was referred to the Parliamentary Committee for Social Policy and Family. During the first reading, five clarifying amendments were tabled and adopted unanimously. The act is to enter into force on December 30, 2023.
The care allowance is granted to partially cover expenses resulting from the need to provide care and assistance to another person due to the inability to live independently.
It is available to a disabled child or a disabled person over 16 years of age if they have a certificate confirming a significant degree of disability.
It is also available to a disabled person over 16 years of age who has a certificate of a moderate degree of disability if the disability occurred before the age of 21, as well as to a person who is over 75 years of age.
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