The State Commission of Physicians on Health and Work Capacity Expertise shall have the right to extend the previously determined group of disabilities for an individual during the period of time that the person has applied to the commission for the repeat disability expert opinion, but the application is still in the consideration process and the commission has not yet made a decision.
This is provided for in the amendment In the disability lawwhich will come into force on Saturday 24 December.
In the transitional provisions of the law, in the period up to December 31, 2023, the State Commission of Doctors for Examination of Health and Work Capacity (VDEĀK) has the right to extend the previously determined group of disabilities for a person for up to six monthswhile the person’s application for a new disability exam is still under review and the VDEĪAK has not yet made a decision.
This option – the extension of the deadline – is a way to solve the problems in the current situation, when the number of mailings to VDEĪAK is increasing sharply, and this creates risks of delay in the decision-making process, which in turn can limit the right of a person with a disability to receive the support services intended for him.
Therefore, by extending the disability group for the time the application is under consideration, a person will have no disruption of the disability status and the right of persons with disabilities to timely support to mitigate the consequences of disability in the form of financial assistance , services and benefits will be provided, the need for such changes is justified in the annotation of the change to the law.
The drafter of the amendment – the Ministry of Welfare – also specified in the annotation that the rule will be applied only in exceptional situations, when the number of applications presented will exceed the capacity and ability of Commission officials to take decisions in all cases within one month of the date of submission of the application.
The determination of disability is regulated Disability Act and the Cabinet of Ministers regulations no. 805 “Rules for determining foreseeable disability, disability and loss of working capacity and for issuing a document certifying disability”. The disability assessment is performed on the basis of an application from a person or a person’s legal representative.
Regulation no. of the MK Clause 20 of 805 determines the terms under which a person (both a child and an adult) has a disability. The third part of Article 8 of the Disability Law states that a person’s disability is determined on the date on which he or she made the application, while the first part of Article 64 of the Administrative Procedure Law (APL) states that if the administrative procedure is initiated on the basis of the application, the institution decides on the issuance of an administrative act within one month from the date of receipt of the application.
The annotation also describes how the situation has evolved with possible delays in terms of decision. For several years now and then there have been periods when, due to various external reasons, VDEĪAK is overloaded, as in some months significantly more requests are received than usual, which consequently has a significant impact on making a timely decision according to the procedures established by the APL. Influx periods are usually associated with various external factors, such as negative changes in the socio-economic situation of the country, when the disability status is seen as an additional support to improve the financial situation of the family, the introduction of new support services or the improvement of existing ones, which creates an adequate reaction in the target group when applying for disability status or a more severe disability group.
Also, in recent years, the influx of applications in a certain period of time is caused by the end of the automatic extension of previously issued administrative acts, which is related to paragraph 9 of the Transitional Provisions of the Invalidity Law on decision-making during an emergency situation linked to the spread of the Covid-19 contagion in the country, because the disability term for a large number of people expires very soon in the near future.
Expert observations show that the sharp increase in the number of claims may have been contributed by:
- rapid inflation and deterioration of the socio-economic situation, with negative consequences especially for the population with low and very low incomes;
- state and local support for people with disabilities to compensate for the increase in the price of energy resources, as well as other specific support measures for people with disabilities;
- previously expired automatic extensions related to the timing of the emergency in the spring of 2022, which mechanically creates an influx of applications in a certain period, because a large number of people’s disabilities expire on very close dates.
Every year, the number of applications submitted to VDEĪK for the disability expert opinion varies on average around 5,300 per month, in some months, during the influx of applications, their number exceeds 6,000. In November, VDEĪK received more than 6,500 questions.