Thursday, 6 November 2014 - 10:07
Elderly couple challenges health care cuts in court
An elderly couple, who is reliant on care, is going to court because of the reforms in health care. They are supported by the umbrella organization for the chronically ill and disabled, Ieder(in). The man and woman are turning to the court because they will lose their seven hours per week home assistance from January 1st. Then the Social Support Law (WMO) takes effect and home assistance falls under the municipality's responsibility. The couple could continue living at home because of the home assistance they received. According to the Volkskrant, the couple are 88 and 89 years old and live in the Friese municipality Dantumadeel. According to Ieder(in), many municipalities are scrapping the help, which means that people with disabilities will have to arrange it for themselves next year. According to the umbrella organization, that is in conflict with the new WMO, the European Human Rights Convention and the general principles of good administration. Ieder(in) states that municipalities may change the rules for help, but they must then determine whether individual clients still get the appropriate assistance. If not, the municipality must offer customized assistance. There must also be a reasonable transitional term. According to director Illya Soffer, the WMO is specifically designed to promote the independence of people with disabilities, but now the opposite is happening. "The core of the law is that municipalities and citizens can talk to each other and jointly determine what is needed to achieve self-reliance," says Soffer. "This principle is now being trampled." Ieder(in) appeals to State Secretary van Rijn to point out to municipalities that they can not simply cancel the home assistance. Ieder(in) has received many troubled emails and phone calls from people likely to lose their home assistance. According to Soffer it is often from people with severe disabilities and little money, who can not manage without help. The municipality of Dantumadeel says that the unrest is unnecessary. If arranging help for themselves fail or the financial resources are insufficient, the municipality will see if a contribution fro the special assistance is possible. The municipality says that this is deliberately not discussed in advance with the clients. "More self reliance is expected of people, including that they themselves request an interview" says a spokesperson.