Amendment to try and curb red tape when applying for disability

Wheelchairs Source: Martin Dremljuga/ERR

The Ministry of Social Affairs has sent out for coordination a bill making it possible to determine a child's severe or profound, stable or progressing disability permanently until they turn 16.

In addition, expert doctors with the Social Insurance Board can in the future evaluate disability applications of working-age people whose condition makes it impossible for them to work based on health data," the ministry communicated.

"Once the amendment enters into force, working-age people with severe medical conditions no longer have to describe limitations caused by their disability for the purpose of determination of disability. We also plan to reduce red tape in place for children with severe or profound disabilities and their parents who are in a very difficult situation," Minister of Social Affairs Tanel Kiik said. "The current procedure is insensibly burdensome for people who need help and their loved ones."

Applying for disability for children with unchangeable or progressive disabilities will become easier. Current legislation states that the severity of a determined disability needs to be reevaluated every three years. "This is not a sensible solution for children whose condition is either stable or progressive," Kiik said. "In cases like these, it would be possible to determine disabilities for a longer period of time, for up to when the child turns 16. I believe it is important we continue to reduce needless bureaucracy when applying for severity of disability and in the field of healthcare and social protection in general."

Estonia had close to 1,800 children with complicated diagnoses and permanent severe or profound disabilities as of March 31 this year. The Social Insurance Board processed 674 applications for children with such disabilities last year.

Unemployment Insurance Fund data from 2017 and 2018 suggests around 1,400-1,500 applications for total incapacity for work are filed every year. In around 90 percent of cases, people also apply for determination of disability. The Social Insurance Board carried out 1,257 expert analyses last year where people who were found incapable of work were also found to have a disability.

A condition ruling out capacity for work is a severe and unchangeable condition that causes full incapacity for work. Such conditions include, for example, stage IV tumors, developed dementia, severe or profound intellectual disability, also, situations where a person receives dialysis treatment, is on assisted ventilation or must remain permanently in bed. Conditions that rule out capacity for work are subject to simplified evaluation where a medical expert checks the condition based on existing health data and puts together an expert evaluation.

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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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