Need to simplify rules for disability status in Russia
Sergey Shabanov, Human Rights Commissioner for the St Petersburg oblast, has asked the Russian Minister of Labour and Social Protection, Maxim Topilin, to change the most recent rules for determining a person’s disability status.
Shabanov explained that people often complain to him about the difficulties they face in going through a long list of doctors in order to obtain a socio-medical assessment referral.
“As a rule, seriously ill and less mobile people find it hard to get to a clinic under their own steam. Current legislation doesn’t specify whether those with a disability need to go in front of a medical board in an in-patient facility. The Commissioner has to resolve such cases “off his own bat” every time”, said Shabanov.
In addition, the possibility has recently been mooted of introducing an in absentia examination for people living in areas not easily accessible. However, there are no criteria in the existing rules for classifying remote areas (to find a facility 100 and 30 km away) or for recognising the irregular nature of local transport, e.g. whether a bus runs once a day or once a week. On this issue, the rights of citizens are being seriously undermined, says Shabanov.
“The most recent rules on determining disability status are not achieving their main goal, namely to make the lives of seriously ill people as easy as possible. For this to happen, the Ministry of Labour needs to take the lead and bring clarity to the rules as a matter of urgency”, said Shabanov.
The rules were amended in March this year and included a list of malfunctioning organs and body systems by which a person’s disability status can be determined in absentia. That way, disabled people need not go to hospital unnecessarily.